« on: July 24, 2006, 09:42:01 PM »
The problem goes both ways. Some cops probably don't care as much about urban crime because the people most affected aren't willing or are afraid to help the cops
This is so true. It becomes a cycle, and the cops tend to act like the community is causing the problem (by not reporting crime, by permitting/harboring criminals, by not cooperating with police investigations) and the community tends to act like the police are causing it (by refusing to consistently protect and serve majority-minority neighborhoods, by using excessive force.) In the end, the rule of law breaks down because neither side feels like they have an ally in the other side. Urban communities need people of integrity on both sides who are willing to make good faith gestures and build trust.
As to why people don't report crimes, even to anonymous tiplines, two things come to mind. One, in some cases, bystanders may feel like the incident was one "bad guy" killing another. For someone who has little faith in the courts, this may seem like justice served. Two, even when this is not the case, I imagine people in the toughest neighborhoods of SE have a very cynical view of how "anonymous" their identity would be kept via an official tipline. And honestly, they could be right...
One time I did call the police about drug selling across the street and asked them not to come to my door when they investigated the call. But a police car drove right up and knocked on my front door anyway, in view of the guy they were arresting across the street. I mentioned this to the police officer and he said, "Oh, don't worry, they won't do anything to you." Then he added, "If they do, call us." Not very reassuring. The drug dealers and gang folks talk up their power, and probably often brag to neighbors about police they have bought off, powerful people they are connected to, etc. It's mostly bs, but to a naive -- or uninformed -- person, it could be convincing.