The Racine City Council just took a bite out of crime, or so they think, by limiting the number of payday loan stores. Studies have shown that crime increases in locations with numerous payday loan stores. Some on the council apparently believe that fewer payday loan stores will mean less crime. I do not dispute that there is a correlation between crime and the number of payday loan stores. The question is whether there is correlation and causation.
In my ill fated run for County Executive, I recall a similar kind of thinking. At least one of my opponents cited statistics that indicate a lower crime rate in areas with higher rates of home ownership. I have no doubt that there is a correlation between home ownership rates and crime rates. But the would be County Exec concluded that public policies that gave taxpayer money to people so that they could buy homes would reduce the crime rate. Or, to put it differently, the would be County Exec concluded that there was causation as well as correlation. If not owning a home causes crime, then the solution is to give people homes.
Which brings me to my modest crime reducing proposal. I live in Wind Point, and I am willing to bet that there is a higher percentage of Mercedes here than in the high crime areas of Racine. I am also quite certain that there are fewer murders in Wind Point than in Racine's high crime areas. There is an obvious correlation between the number of Mercedes and the absence of murderous behavior. Therefore, if we really want to reduce the number of murders in Racine, we need to increase the number of Mercedes in Racine. I suggest that we purchase a hundred or so used Mercedes and park them strategically throughout the high crime areas of the city. Peace and tranquility will soon follow.