by Michael Lowrey
Crime is up in Charlotte and the cops and politicians have noticed. An idea that’s getting a lot of attention are exclusion zones, areas where people who are arrested for crimes on public property would be banned from the crime exclusion zone in the future. (Unless they lived there or worked there.) The idea doesn’t seem to have legs though, as Cleve R. Wootson Jr. of the Charlotte Observer reports:
Kenny Smith, a Republican member of the community safety committee, told me he also wasn’t inclined to support the exclusion zones and said they didn’t have a lot of strong backers on the City Council. A chief fear: Criminals would simply migrate to areas that don’t have beefed up enforcement.
“There seems to be lukewarm reception at best for this proposal,” he said. “There seem to be too many issues about whether it’s kicking the can down the street or having the crime relocate. And some people have the perception that shouldn’t all of Charlotte be (a crime) exclusion zone?”
If you’re going to do something as radical as establishing a crime exclusion zone, do it right and do it for the right reasons. And that involves having broad consensus about what you’re trying to do, why you’re trying to do it, and that benefits are likely to exceed the cost. Obviously Charlotte City Council isn’t there, as highlighted by Smith’s comment that “some people have the perception that shouldn’t all of Charlotte be (a crime) exclusion zone?” — A city-wide crime exclusion zone would be of limited value — most of the crime in Charlotte is committed by people that live in Charlotte — would be difficult to enforce, and would raise significant constitutional issues.