When Crime Dictates A Campaign

It used to be when the economy tanked crime soared. That, at least, is what happened in the late 1980s into the early 1990s. Some city neighborhoods were war zones fired by turf battles from drug gangs. A murder a week was not uncommon.

As the economy imploded the past several years, violent crime was tame by comparison. The other day the city suffered its 12th homicide, the same total experienced in all of 2009, certainly not the shocking numbers of 20 years ago, but one Mayor Bill Finch cannot be happy about as he considers layoffs of uniformed services and reelection next year.

Crime wasn’t much of an issue in 2007, the last mayoral election. It will be if murders trend upward. Elections can be won and lost on crime. In 1991 when Democrat Joe Ganim challenged Republican incumbent Mary Moran, the city was literally in bankruptcy court, placed there by Moran who claimed the city needed a fresh start. Her bankruptcy filing was a big issue. Crime, for most voters, was more important. Police manpower was low. Crime dictated the election strategy. Ganim pledged to add 100 cops. He defeated Moran.

So this is something to watch. When violent crime surges, it’s a gigantic toothache for the incumbent, and the opposition will pounce.

From Mayor Finch:

Central High School Set to Open as Cooling Center on Wednesday. July 7

The City’s Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with the American Red Cross will open Central High School on Wednesday as a ‘cooling center’ to provide residents a place to cool off during the day. The cooling center will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Central High School auditorium.

In addition, all of the City’s senior citizen centers will be open to provide respite from the heat. Residents without air conditioning are urged to limit their activity and to drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.



  1. The murder the other day was the 2nd in our neighborhood in the past few years. Having lived here for 65 years I can tell you prior to these two murders there has only been one other murder and that was during a domestic dispute.
    In my neighborhood last year and a half we have had 9 armed robberies that’s more than we have had in the previous 60-plus years.
    The acting chief told us in a neighborhood meeting there are 21 street cops on duty at any given time. There is a quick response SET team but they are a reactionary force. We expect or should I say the PD expects 21 officers to cover 140,000-plus citizens during an 8 hr. shift. Can’t be done and is not being done. These 21 overworked men and women just can’t do it. I applaud their efforts but it’s an impossible task.
    It’s time we get a police chief on board who will get cops on the street. Why do we have 105 supervisors in the PD? Why hasn’t anyone in the PD been monitoring the long-term sick leave policy? Will someone please tell me what the hell the community policing unit does other than have prisoners wash their cars?
    I have said it once and I will say it again when we see a patrol car up here riding through we figure he got lost because we rarely see patrol cars here. The car assigned here is usually covering somewhere else.
    It’s time to revamp the upper management of the police department Christ we are top heavy there. We have 4 deputy chiefs and 1 assistant chief and yet they can’t figure out how to get more cops on the street to help the 21 out there now busting their asses.

    1. I know you have quoted that figure before–but there were more than 21 police on the parade route–so where did they all come from–does the City budget break out the department personnel? What does the canine unit do? I agree the pony patrol is a waste of 5/6 guys and resources–and what dept are the guys on the beach patrols–regular police or harbor patrol?

      1. I will try and answer your questions as best as I can. I believe the police officers at the parade were on department OT or outside OT. The beach patrol is from the PD.

        1. The Beach Patrol is a waste of money–the guys drive their ATV’s like maniacs–I watched them drive by people with open bottles of beer–it would be fine if they were monitoring people in the water–but wait that’s the lifeguard’s job–and what are the Park Police doing if we have PD patrolling as well?

          My point about the parade is there were a lot of police–where are these guys during a regular workweek?

          1. Those guys thought they were in a remake of “Rat Patrol!”

            The Lifeguards do a nice job and even have some BayWatch lookers.

        2. Common Good: I thought you would like to know that in addition to the ATV cops we have the following:
          Cops on Segways
          Cops on Bicycles
          Cops on Horseback
          I am not sure if they are still using motorcycles.
          We have a ton of cops doing paperwork.
          We have cops doing everything but working the neighborhoods in patrol cars.
          To the 21 street cops on Patrol each shift thanks for trying to do the impossible.
          To the management of the PD get off your asses and get cops on patrol.

  2. Barney Fife and his pals make out well on overtime and pension and benefits. They are figuring out new ways to make more, so give them a break, you are just a taxpayer TC.

  3. It is my understanding the a/chief will simply tell the mayor he will cut the overtime account by 2 million and presto you have no layoffs in the p.d. It is suspected to be a deal the mayor and chief had all along to avoid the impact in layoffs from that dept. Unfortunately, the other departments do not have such a cushion to “make such a deal.” There will be hundreds of layoffs by week’s end. The unions have banded together and said “no” to any more concessions.

    1. The Fire department has a cushion too, but it is endowed by the city attorney’s office. In 2009, the Fire Chief used his attorney for anything he could, and John Bohannon was paid over $250,000 for his services. $250,000.00!
      I believe the City’s “unofficial” mission statement is to fight everything. “Everything!” No matter the cost. The biggest client, Chief Brian Rooney.

        1. I’m not sure when Mr. Bohannon left the City Attorney’s office, but since 2005 he’s collected almost $600,000 as a private vendor, from the city.

  4. Which big bucks dept head is placing blame for air conditioning issues on the wrong person?

    You’d think they would step up and be responsible. Wouldn’t you?


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