Crime rates in America are still high, but there are new ways to combat criminals and prevent crime, according to the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control
Director David Kennedy met with students Thursday to discuss the state of violence in America and new paradigms in crime prevention in his presentation, “Toward a New Criminal Justice: Race, Violence, Drugs, Prison and Legitimacy.”
Kennedy said the state of crime in the United States isn’t pretty.
“It’s much worse out there than you think it is,” Kennedy said.
He cited statistics from his colleagues at the Rochester Institute of Technology, saying that the crime in Rochester alone is tremendous, especially for young minorities.
“In Rochester, N.Y., nearly one out of every 200 young black men are dying from being shot,” Kennedy said.
The national homicide rate is down to historic lows, according to Kennedy.
“The national homicide rate is around four to five per 100,000,” Kennedy said. “And we’re really proud of that. For the last 20 years [crime] has almost always been down.”
However, Kennedy emphasized that for minorities, things aren’t as good. He said that one-third of all black men born in this country will go to prison.
When talking about the American prison system, Kennedy noted the population is around 2.3 million. According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, the current prison population is 2,266,800. He finds this number appalling and very similar to numbers found in Cold War Russia.
“There’s an ongoing debate, in my field, asking, ‘Is this number more or less than the Russian Gulags?'”Kennedy said.
Kennedy said it’s absurd that criminal justice students across America are not taught crime prevention. However, by sharing his experience in Operation Ceasefire and other strategies across the country, Kennedy said he wanted to enlighten students about a myriad of new ways preventing and dealing with crime in minority neighborhoods that he witnessed firsthand with incredible results.
Kennedy encouraged a surgical approach to crime prevention, arguing for the same expanse of education for criminal justice that surgeons require before ever setting foot in the operating room.
“We are systematic about crime the way surgeons were when they were barbers,” Kennedy said.
Senior criminal justice major Travis Peevles found the lecture very interesting.
“He hit on a lot of topics people don’t want to think about,” Peevles said. “It was very nice to hear this from not only a scholar, but someone who has been out in the field.”
Kennedy said that if criminal justice students could take away one thing from his presentation, it was that there’s a silver lining in resolving serious issues in crime prevention.
“These are fantastically serious issues, way beyond what most people who are not in policing can understand,” Kennedy said. “It’s very serious, and there’s beginning to be an outline of how we can do a lot better.”