People were nervous when Queensgate Correctional Facility in Cincinnati was closed. This 2008 jail closure eliminated over one-third of the city’s jail space. Naturally, people thought that crime would increase - but that’s not what happened at all.
Since police couldn’t lock people up as freely, they were forced to make fewer arrests. In turn, this meant they had to think about their jobs differently. The city had to focus on deterring crime in different ways like transparency, oversight, and social services.
The numbers speak for themselves. The Appeal reports: “From 2008 to 2014, violent crime in Cincinnati dropped by 38.5 percent, property crime by 18.9 percent. Felony arrests dropped by 41.3 percent, and misdemeanor arrests by 32.7 percent.” This is a BIG DEAL!
People argue that we need jails, prisons, and “tough on crime” policing to make sure that crime doesn’t increase, but what happened in Cincinnati tells us just the opposite. This wasn’t just a coincidence, and knowing that jails and prisons don’t necessarily deter crime is important!
We need more focus on ways to deter crime through helping people live happy, healthy, and comfortable lives. That’s a great way to fight crime that’s not reactionary like heavy handed policing and arrests. For Black people, this can mean a safe day-to-day life in many ways!