Friday, September 21, 2007

The DeSantis Anti-Crime Plan at a Glance

It seems as though the scabrous MSM has neglected to fully explicate the Mark DeSantis proposal for public safety -- except to comment upon the antics of a certain North Side grocery store proprietor, who co-opted the big press conference. (P-G, Timothy McNulty)

The Comet promises to revisit the impressions of Mr. Walt Davis, but in the meanwhile, Here We Go:

1. We have 30 police officers dedicated to community oriented policing. I want the entire department dedicated to community-oriented policing.

This is truly the entirety of any possible public safety plan. Community buy-in is a must, but also, and frequently overlooked, police buy-in is even musterer.

Whether or not and how the communities and law-enforcement are made to cooperate is really the be-all and end-all of any possible public safety stratagem. WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!!!11!!!! Kudos to Mark DeSantis for at least acknowledging that we must be doing more and better.

2. Wherever possible, any function currently being performed that doesn't result in arrests or time spent by an officer in the community will be civilianized, computerized or eliminated.

If this is really a problem, and if this is realistic, then booyaugh! More officers on the streets can only be good. If we are truly utilizing cops to deliver interoffice mail and the such, as Act 47 and the Consent Decree have discouraged us, then we should cease at once, as we should have ceased long ago.

3. Police should be hired and promoted based on merit, not seniority or patronage.

Well, this would be good. We're not sure whether or not this is possible under the current FOP collective bargaining agreement, but it seems like a "gimme" of an idea.

4. I will reinvigorate the Public Safety Council. The Public Safety Council, which represents each of the city's 88 neighborhoods, will meet regularly with police, fire, health, building and code enforcement officers to identify problem areas in the city and develop strategies for solving them.

We can't comment too much upon this. We don't know what in blazes the Public Safety Council is. Therefore, we assume it to be an inviting candidate for re-invigoration.

5. BROKEN-WINDOW POLICING: I've taken this idea from New York City, where it made a huge difference. As Mayor, I will have a zero tolerance policy for crime, no matter how small.

This sounds like maybe a bit of hollow rhetoric. We're unsure what emptying the pockets of every passerby will do for a target neighborhood, but then again we're unsure of whether we have the manpower to actually pull off a Guilliani-type crackdown.


Our final thoughts: we have a solid and very ambitious plan on the table. Mark DeSantis says he wants to make Pittsburgh "the safest city in America." He is aiming awful high -- but surely he has picked the correct issue on which to aim so high, hasn't he?

His plan invites us to ask: where is Luke Ravenstahl aiming? And what is his plan for getting us there? Security cameras alone, IOHO, are never going to get us where we need to be.


  1. The cameras are bad, unless, they are pointed first at all the politicians and the public treasury.

    Next, all the cameras should be open source and put into the public domain. The content should flow to the net so anyone, anywhere, can witness what happens with these cameras.

    Otherwise, I don't want cameras.

    PEN DOT has cameras. I can see what traffic is like on the Parkway East. That's okay.

    Open source cameras after we put cameras in the citizen police review board meetings, the authority board meetings, the public safety meetings (yes, they do occur), and the bank accounts -- via transparent trust funds.

  2. "but then again we're unsure of whether we have the manpower to actually pull off a Guilliani-type crackdown."

    True Bram. Very True. We have around 800 police officers right now. We used to have 1300. Public Safety is a big part of the budget, so I'd like to hear how he plans to fund this change. A reduction in firefighters OT pay may be a place to start. However, with the influence of Joe King, you can't discuss that prior to the election. A good quetion for the debates.

  3. TheTruth,

    I have a suggestion - how about DeSantis starts by reducing the number of mayoral bodyguards. When I saw Ravenstahl at the Steelers game, he had three guys surrounding him. These bodyguards are working overtrime too, as they are with Ravenstahl when he's out at the bars and clubs in the strip district, downtown, and southside.

    So - my math bay be off a bit, there is at least 5 or 6 police officers right there that could be out on the streets but instead that money is funding Luke's security force. I know he should have a bodyguard or two with him when he is out at events but what he has now is overkill.

  4. About that shop owner, the small business proprietors that I know barely have time to tie their shoes let alone research how many years a candidate has lived at a certain address. When & if they do get a minute they're more interested in searching out how a candidate will deal with business taxes, etc.

    If entrepreneur Davis is actually that thorough in his political research, kudos to him. But it really makes me wonder who put him up to barging in on that press conference?

    Could entrepreneur Davis or a member of his family be a Dem. committee member, city employee, etc.? Or is he merely an intrepid entrepreneur?

  5. First of all, good for Mark DeSantis for getting out into the neighborhoods. I only wish he had started doing this earlier in his campaign.

    I don't what the motives of the grocery store owner are, but I see nothing wrong with him questioning the man who wants to be his mayor. I'm not sure if the word "antics" is quite fair, even if the man was a little rude in interrupting a news conference. And DeSantis is going to need to have a good answer to the man's questions about what, as a Downtown resident, he knows about living in the city of Pittsburgh. We can complain all we want about Pittsburgh parochialism--and it is a very valid complaint--but DeSantis isn't going to change that mentality in one election cycle.