From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Gilman)
Subject: [POLITICS] KC Study, Revisited
Date: 27 May 1995 14:45:58 -0400
[MODERATOR: An interesting review, posted here, with redirects set
The Kansas City Gun Experiment - Revisited
by John Gilman 3/95
Last January, we were all treated to an AP story about a
successful gun-confiscation program in Kansas City, Missouri.
Briefly, an 80x10 block high-crime area was targeted with two
additional patrol cars, during peak crime hours. The patrols were
directed to look for guns only. The study lasted six months.
Here are the official findings:
* Gun seizures increased 65% and gun crimes fell 49%
* More than two gun crimes were prevented for each gun seized
* Neither gun crimes nor guns seized changed in a similar comparison
area, in Kansas City.
* There was no measurable displacement of gun crimes to patrols
surrounding the target area.
I was intrigued. After ten years of looking for some convincing
evidence that gun control of SOME kind, actually works - here it
appeared in print. But, the fawning nature of the AP story was
suspicious. It was also suspicious that the big networks didn't
make a week-long series out of the report. I decided to call KCPD.
After the usual bouncing about, I finally was able to speak to a
very nervous-sounding clerk. She claimed ignorance of any specific
knowledge, and only said that callers were being referred to the
study's key author, Lawrence Sherman. I called Dr. Sherman's office.
An answering machine took name and address. A week later I received
a study summary, giving identical information to the AP story. It
referenced the full NIJ study. I called NIJ. A clerk took name
and address. Last Friday, the study finally arrived. It provided
ample explanation of the long delay, the KCPD clerk's nervousness,
and lack of followup media merrymaking:
* Target area gun crimes did fall precipitously. They fell before
patrols actually began. Coincident with a police house-to-house,
informing residents of a coming crackdown.
* Gun crimes rose 7% in areas immediately surrounding increased
patrols. This offset 53 of the 86 claimed gun crime reduction.
Gun crimes fell 2% in all of Kansas City in the same period.
This directly contradicts the study's official conclusion that
gun crimes were not displaced to adjacent areas.
* Overall violent crime rates in the target area remained unaffected
throughout the study period. Area residents likewise believed the
violent crime problem remained unimproved.
* NYPD's famed Robert Gallagher, trained gun patrol officers to spot
concealed weapons. In several night's patrolling, Gallagher
spotted no guns. Nearly half (13/29) of guns confiscated, were
found during routine pat-down of someone already being arrested
for something else.
* The study area had a homicide rate 20x the national average, and
gun patrols ran during peak hours. Even so, it yeilded one
confiscation per 88 patrol car hours; two weeks' hunting.
* The study cost in excess of $120,000. Roughly $4,000 for every
gun confiscated. (Cost to produce a gun: roughly $250).
* Part of the program was a much-publicized hotline for reporting
gun crimes, people carrying, etc. During the study period, two
calls were received. The authors nonetheless speculate that the
hotline, "may still have been useful for preventing gun crime and
other serious crime."
* The KCPD clerk DID tell me, that KCPD had no plans to continue the
effort, now that Federal grant money was gone.
The Kansas City Experiment can be termed a success, only if failure is
creatively defined. But please, don't believe me. Order NCJ 150855,
from the NIJ. At time of post, can't find number. Email me or better
yet, call your local research librarian.