HOW TO STOP CRIME by Anthony V. Bouza


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 An exhaustive, brash, and perceptive analysis of America's crime problem--to which former Bronx police chief Bouza offers remarkably common-sense solutions. Bouza's examination of the all-too familiar statistics of murder, rape, assault, and other violent crimes cuts past the usual rhetoric to what he states is the core issue: that the nation's ``failure to address poverty and racism'' has led to the proliferation of drugs and increasingly violent levels of street crime. As he sorts through the numbers--nearly 24,000 murders annually (far more, he notes, than the country would accept in a war); 25% of the nation's households victimized in 1991 by a rape, robbery, assault, burglary, or auto theft--he contends that, even though most street crime happens to blacks, it's black-on-white violence that gets media attention, pandering ``to our basest instincts.'' Most proposed solutions have been ``sexy,'' politically expedient ones: more cops and jails, stiffer penalties, the ``war'' on drugs. Bouza suggests both short- and long-term solutions that embrace tough penalties for tough criminals but that also include a national preventative strategy of treatment, training, and encouragement. He calls also for a presidential commission on crime that would recognize poverty and racism as the roots of the problem. Bouza states, however, that criminals acting from compulsion--child molesters, rapists, serial killers--are poor risks and should ``be warehoused.'' He doesn't preclude castration for offenders, and he believes that insanity pleas should be more strictly limited. Meanwhile, the policies and platforms of both national parties are, he says, little more than ``quick fixes.'' Overlong and repetitious, but, still, an important document that sweeps aside the empty words and emotionalism that have blocked progress in reducing crime.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-306-44472-0
Page count: 425pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993