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The Boston Globe

Opinion

EDWARD L. GLAESER

To fight crime in Boston, be prepared to spend more

In Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder is altering Justice Department policy so that some “nonviolent drug offenders” will no longer face “Draconian mandatory minimum sentences.” In New York, Judge Shira Scheindlin has forced a revamping of “stop-and-frisk” — a practice in which police confront people whom they deem to be acting suspiciously. In Boston, mayoral candidates are demanding greater racial and ethnic diversity in the Police Department.

Together, these moves suggest a change in the political winds from tougher policing to alternative objectives — more humane sentences, more dignity on the streets, more racially sensitive policing. This shift comes partly because past efforts to fight crime came at a terrible human cost, and partly because of a broad perception that crime is less of a threat today than it once was.

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