Thankfully law enforcement, ultimately, is responsible to the electorate. This whole thing is our (collective) fault. The American people have gladly exchanged essential freedom for the promise of security from a threat that was never terribly real to begin with.
- We flocked to suburbs because cities just aren't safe.
- We turned into a nation of helicopter parents terrified that our children were surely going to be kidnapped at any moment.
- We elected politicians who promised to be "tough on crime" giving us such gems as mandatory minimum sentencing, huge prison terms for petty crimes, trying 15 year old kids as adults, etc...
- We massively increased the number of police on our streets.
And we did all of this, despite the fact that statistically we we're actually never in much of anything resembling danger. I remember folks in Cabot Arkansas (where I attended high school for two years) freaking out over a perceived gang problem. It was ridiculous then, but they made sure to hire a few more police officers to keep an eye on it.
Americans have proven to be two things: 1) terrified and 2) really bad at math. Our reporters don't understand statistics and our soccer moms are even worse.
That's why I'm greatly amused about all the fighting we do over national politics. Who cares about Obama... you should be fighting tooth and nail over your mayor. The person who is in charge of your police and ultimately much more likely to impact your freedom.
How many folks have made this an issue locally? I haven't heard a peep here in Denver.
Crime wasn't always an imaginary problem in this country. In fact, not too long ago it was a major problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States). Right now we have almost half the level of violent crime and homicide we had about 20 years ago. Some cities, like New York, had even higher crime rates in the 80's and 90's compared to now than the country as a whole.