"Over the 1991-2002 period, violent crime [in Chicago] has declined by 49 percent, and property crime by 36 percent," reports the Chicago Community Policing Evaluation Consortium in its January report, "CAPS at Ten." "Murder was down the least over this period, by 30 percent. As in many cities, the ability of Chicago's police to solve homicides has waned. While other kinds of homicide have declined, the remaining core of gang and drug-related shootings has proven more difficult to counter."
Recycling takes on a whole new meaning. The Peoria Journal Star (April 7) reports that 70 barge loads of mud are being dredged from Peoria Lake in the Illinois River and hauled upriver to the south side's old U.S. Steel site, which is being turned into a park. John Marlin, a senior scientist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and a Peoria native, has done research showing that "the sediment deposited recently is almost as clean as that settling into the river before the heavy use of industrial chemicals."
"Does social screening--that is, refusing to buy the stock of certain companies--really make any difference to those companies?" ask Marshall Glickman and Marjorie Kelly in E Magazine (March/April). "Basically, no. If a large number of Monsanto shareholders, outraged over the company's genetically modified products, dumped all their shares at the same time, the stock would drop--but only briefly. As soon as other investors realized nothing had changed about the corporation's financial condition, they would scoop Monsanto's shares right back up." Less than 1 percent of socially conscious investment takes the more productive form of community investment, in which savers invest directly, through companies such as South Shore Bank, in worthwhile projects and businesses.
Which vice is promoted by state and tribal governments? Which has a federal agency fighting it? Estimated annual cost of drug abuse, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office: $110 billion. Estimated total annual cost of gambling, according to economist Earl Grinols, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in his new book, Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits: $54 billion.
Stop giving stuff away--it doesn't help. University of Iowa planning professors Alan Peters and Peter Fisher write on "The Failures of Economic Development Incentives" in the Journal of the American Planning Association (Winter): "It is possible that incentives do induce significant new growth, that the beneficiaries of that growth are mainly those who have greatest difficulty in the labor market, and that both states and local governments benefit fiscally from that growth. But after decades of policy experimentation and literally hundreds of scholarly studies, none of these claims is clearly substantiated. Indeed...there is a good chance that all of these claims are false....Many public officials appear to believe that they can influence the course of their state or local economies through incentives and subsidies to a degree far beyond anything supported by even the most optimistic evidence."
Who's crying now? "Every year I ask my college class how many students have seen a high school teacher cry, and most students raise their hands," writes Northwestern University's James Rosenbaum in the spring issue of the American Federation of Teachers magazine American Educator. "When I ask what provoked the crying, most stories are about teachers who threaten to give students bad grades and students who do not care. When I ask my colleagues the same question about their high school teachers from one or two generations ago, virtually none can recall such tears. This is not a systematic survey, but it suggests a big change." He suspects that many high school students think that they can do poorly in high school and still have a good chance of graduating from college. The truth is otherwise. He says a study on the high school class of 1982 is telling: 64 percent of the A students had a college degree after ten years, whereas only 14 percent of the C students did.