Call me cynical. Call me old school. You might even call me old-fashioned, but i cannot see the benefit of programs such as the H3Cincy program. There have been many programs of this sort over the years, but I have never seen any results that show any value or return on the investment. Are the outcomes of such programs even quantifiable? How is it to be known if any of the involved youths chose a life of lawfulness over that of an outlaw as a result of participating in such a program? How can it be determined if the money was well spent? Does a program such as this reach a large enough percentage of the youth population or have an overall impact on future crime rates? I think all these, and many more questions need to be asked and answered, but to my knowledge they have never been. So let us ask them now.
First off, let us examine the current H3Cincy program. It is my understanding that this program has run now for several weeks. The program has attracted approximately 200 young individuals to participate at a limited number of recreation centers throughout the city. The first question I would have to ask, is what percentage of all youths in the targeted age range are impacted? What percent of the total population of youths in the city are represented by those participating 200? Another question would be, of those 200 participating youths, what percentage of them will be dissuaded from participating in a criminal lifestyle solely because of the influence of the program? And what percentage of the 200 would never have considered a life of crime, regardless of the influence of the program? I realize that most, if not all, of these questions cannot and will not be answered. However, the core of the questions represent a thought process that needs to be addressed.
As a payer of taxes, an individual needs to ask if there money is being wisely spent on a program that minimally impacts the potential for crime. I know, the first response will be, the program is funded through asset forfeiture and does not cost the tax payer. But is this really true? Is there not still an impact on the tax dollar you have spent? Consider this. Asset forfeiture is money acquired by the police department as a result of seizure of money and assets of drug dealers caught by the agency. But tax dollars fund the law enforcement efforts that generated the seizures. Therefore, taxpayers are invested in the efforts and taxpayers have the right to question the effectiveness of the program. Once the questions are asked, and the answers are, or are not, forthcoming, do we continue, and if so, why?
Surely there is more reason for this type of program other than opportunity for the Police Chief to get photographed and his sound bites to be aired on the 6:00 O’clock news. The question is, why is the Police Department involved in providing activities that are better served by the experts at the Recreation Department? In my opinion, I think it is time for the police to get back to doing what the police are commissioned to do, enforce the law, protect society, and put the bad guys in jail. But then, that’s just me.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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