This insight is also important, not only because it sheds light on sources of crime, but because it also points us in a direction for reducing it. If crime stays in areas that share certain characteristics, then perhaps addressing those characteristics might help reduce crime. As opposed to more individualistic approaches. This makes me think about the rational behind prison and jail construction, a particularly relevant issue as the city is currently undergoing the construction of a new jail with several hundred beds. Jail and prison as a means of crime control focuses attention on the individual, punish the wrong-doer. Yet, it does virtually nothing to address the conditions and social characteristics of crime ridder areas.
In fact, one of the characteristics of crime ridden areas is the frequent ebb and flow of residents (there's an elaborate argument here, but I'll spare you the details), and some of the new criminological research is noting how concentrated incarceration where up to 40%-60% of residents in these neighborhoods have gone to jail/prison actually exacerbates the characteristics and conditions that seem to foster crime in the first place. How ironic. We pay about $22,000 per prisoner, per year (though expense increase as one ages in prison and their health care needs increase) to create more crime. This is not just a New Orleans thing, but is certainly pertinent to New Orleanians. We could also ask, if a great majority of those suffering from this great irony weren't black men, would we see greater action to address this issue? We might also ask, if they weren't black, would these conditions be allowed to arise and fester for so long in the first place?