Crime Delivery System

In a recent op-ed published in the Scottsdale Republic and reposted here on ScottsdaleTrails, light rail foe and Scottsdale business owner Mike Fernandez called light rail a “crime delivery system.”

Light rail cheerleader Jim Derouin responded with his own op-ed which mirrored the Republic in calling Fernandez paranoid. Jim essentially repeated this position when he and I were interviewed by KJZZ’s Steve Goldstein last week, and he said “…the crime issue is a phony issue.”

Not only did a recent letter to the editor bear out Fernandez’s “paranoia,” an astute ScottsdaleTrails reader pointed out to me this morning a link on the Drudge Report to an LA Times story about a group of criminals in LA  using mass transit to commute to the scene of their crimes:

A band of robbers that tore through Hollywood Boulevard on Tuesday night appear to be some of the same youths who were attacking people and vandalizing stores in the Crenshaw district earlier this week where demonstrators were protesting the George Zimmerman murder trial verdict, police said.

The thieves moved fast and swarmed their victims, mirroring the activity seen in Crenshaw the previous evening.

“I think this specific group came up to riot and cause problems in Hollywood,” LAPD Sgt. John Barkley said. “They were not engaging in any kind of protest.”

Of the dozen people arrested in the indiscriminate crime spree, most of the suspects came from South L.A. or Compton and used the subway to get there, he said.

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  1. Good piece, John.

    Anyone supporting light rail should be tested. They are probably suffering from “liberalitis.” Symptons also include the desire to build ugly apartment buildings on places like Scottsdale Road.

    One can only hope that Herb Drinkwater is not watching this council from above.

  2. Name calling, erroneous assertions and red herrings are working on assumptions that ignore facts and instead try to bolster your view. If the fact that light rail or any other high capacity transit system does indeed cause crime, then one must accept the premise that crime decreases when there is no light rail system or any other high capacity system. Also, autos are transit systems since they transport felons. The bigger the auto, the more crime. Should you want, I can supply a newspaper article reporting on the effect of light rail on the community. It is written by a Portland, OR. reporter. Question why does change become an ideology when facts are need for an accurate conclusion?

    1. I appreciate your input, Jerry, but as one who has been part of this Scottsdale Light Rail discussion for many years I can tell you that there’s plenty of incivility on both sides.

      The crime stats aren’t my issue. But it sure seems that when I examine “the facts,” there appears to be some substance to the issue.

      I can tell you from first-hand experience that on a light rail excursion with my family, we were subjected to a very uncomfortable moment that I thought was going to result in me defending myself and my family from some guy who was being a jerk. One experience does not a statistical argument make, but many others have told me of similar experiences.

      I don’t believe any transit system causes crime. But, transit systems–including automobiles–can be tools for criminals. That’s also why we revoke the licenses of folks who use automobiles in a criminal manner. But many of the criminals resort to mass transit at that point, and it’s a little more difficult to revoke a light rail pass.

      Again, this is not my big issue with light rail…mostly my issue is that light rail proponents “ignore facts” (as you say) about cost and effectiveness. It irritates me supremely that rail proponents dishonestly conflate rail opposition to opposing transit in general.

      And proponents often ignore the “fact” that light rail inevitably cannibalizes other forms of transit, just has Valley Metro Rail has…for example, killing off the 510 Express route in Scottsdale because of Phoenix funding issues.

      As far as, “Name calling, erroneous assertions and red herrings…” I think there’s as much or more on the pro-rail side.

      Claiming Valley Metro Rail is “a smashing success,” is wildly opinionated and not based on any factual analysis or criteria.

      Labeling those community advocates concerned about crime as liars by saying crime is “a phony issue,” is inflammatory and unhelpful.

      Making rhetorical sound bite statements like, “If Scottsdale does not move forward, it’s going to fall behind,” is just plain silly. Ditto the wildly speculative “economic impact” numbers.

      All of those statements were made my Jim Derouin in his KJZZ interview.

      So if you want rail (as opposed to advocating for a factual decision process as to the mix of transit modes that we need), you should take some of your own advice and eliminate the hyperbole.

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