NEWARK, Jan. 8 — Mayor Cory A. Booker and his police director announced the formation of a new narcotics division today to try to defeat a stubbornly high murder rate, firmly linking the trade in illegal drugs to the city's persistent violence.
There's a link, alright. And in time politicians will come to understand that it is prohibition which makes drug-trade violence inevitable. Surely we can't keep addressing community problems with hollow rhetoric like this:
The new 45-person unit, led by a deputy chief, will tackle the city's drug trade as it if were a "ground war," he said.
So basically they're proposing a war on violence. It won't work. It can't work because drug-trade violence stems from an absence of regulation, not a shortage of armed police ready to kick doors in on an informant's tip.
In fact, temporary successes achieved through "ground war" tactics frequently increase violence as new competitors rush to replace those removed from the market by law-enforcement. Nor should anyone disregard the abundant collateral damage that occurs when armed raids are conducted based on tips from shady criminal informants.
The New York Times isn't responsible for making this argument, but they should at least acknowledge it. The discussion of drug-trade violence is incomplete and unproductive when the contributing role of drug prohibition goes unmentioned.
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