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WIN: How Lib Mayor Cut Crime 40%

Posted on September 1, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Mayor Art Olivier cut crime over 40% with citizen teams.


The paradigm is Libertarian voluntary methods cannot address crime...only more police, punishments and prisons can as the core job of government. Think again.


As mayor, Libertarian Art Olivier cut crime over 40% in 2 years while by refusing to expand police functions or raise taxes. He instead ordered a policy of focus on 'actual, not lifestyle' crimes while forming citizen 'granny' teams that focused on 'causes, not symptoms.'


The teams, called by some 'granny' teams due to the presence of seniors and a soft approach, covered several blocks, would use maps and thumbtacks to target problem addresses, then meet over coffee with those involved and personally mentor ways of addressing underlying problems of domestic abuse, substance misuse, or  anger management issues with available programs."While co-ordinated with volunteer community watches, we were basically intervention teams. We were there to attack the problem, not people; not expand punishment but seek a solution," said a participant. "People don't listen to a policeman they see as the problem when many police forces arrest anyone for anything to look busy or increase overtime. They do listen to a group of neighbors offering a way to shape up. Our crime rate went down where elsewhere it went up."




The teams were self-supporting and involved no new tax assessments. Police praised the teams as  "allowing us to focus on hard core criminals, actual community policing, and community morale"  and so further reduce crime. In addition, many situations were kept from getting out of hand and becoming actual crimes, say officials.


"The teams offer a substantial model others can adapt, as the city involved, Bellflower, is a Los Angeles suburb with 77,000 residents," said Olivier.


According to think tank RPPI, teams that focus on specific problems and a non-punitive and restorative justice approach work, and the reduction is typical. "The voluntary approach has a lot to offer. I'm increasingly convinced that crime goes down when we stop thinking of it as a government function but more as a person-to-person approach and focus on actual crime," said nobelist and LIO advisor Milton Friedman, who reviewed the statistics. "By doing the opposite of common wisdom Olivier and his teams got a dramatically better result. The Libertarians have tied together what academics have long suspected, or people are stumbling on in bits and pieces, into a simple program anyone can start. This takes programs such as Neighborhood Watch into a new level of 'Neighborhood Help.' Communities even do things like this in Afghanistan, with similar results."


Fans of Olivier say he was not a 'one-hit wonder' but also also applied Libertarian choice ideas in other areas. During his five years on the City Council and then mayor (1994?99), Olivier privatized the city's tree trimming, crossing guards, street sweeping and the Building Department. He eliminated the city's lighting tax assessment and did not allow eminent domain to be exercised while on council. He also did an emblematic measuring of city garbage bins by 'going out there with a measuring tape,' discovering they were smaller than promised and seeing the problem was corrected.


(UPDATE of 2002 LIO Advisory) 

HOW-TO:  (Watches, general)  (How to checklist)  (Restorative Approach)  (Neighborhood intervention)



Categories: ALL, Decriminalize


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