Cincinnati Police Department Knows How to Stop Crime: Walking and Praying

I guess the Cincinnati Police Department has given up. They can’t figure out how to stop crime so they’re now teaming up with pastors and members of 25 local congregations to walk and pray through the city:

FOX19.com-Cincinnati News, Weather

The groups involved are extending an invitation for all citizens to participate in the first of seven prayer walks to be held on Saturday afternoons over the next two months.

Groups will meet at participating houses of worship. As they walk together, participants will pray for peace against violence which has plagued Cincinnati.

Seven prayer walks for peace. All with the approval and support of the Cincinnati Police Department. (The CPD actually came up with the idea.)

While prayer was a major focal point of Saturday’s spiritual protests against crime, the congregations weren’t alone their efforts. They were joined by members of the Cincinnati Police Department, which helped come up with the initiative.

Police officials and church leaders have mutually extended an invitation to all members of the community, regardless of their religious beliefs, to join in similar hour-long walks over the next few weeks. They’ll be held every Saturday at 4 p.m through Nov. 16.

Just to be clear, I have no problem with the church members doing the walks — They’re free to waste their time as they see fit. But why is the local police department sponsoring this religious event? That’s not their job, nor should they be endorsing prayer as a solution for anything. Hell, beyond the unconstitutionality of it, that’s precisely the opposite of the sort of tangible solutions police departments are supposed to offer a community!

I’ve sent them a request for comment and alerted the Freedom From Religion Foundation about what they’re doing.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • 3lemenope

    As prayer, of course it’s useless for fighting crime. As a demonstration of community strength and solidarity, on the other hand…

    • David

      Wow. Thank you. You have been paying attention in the last 40 years of Civil Rights History. I mean there is a reason why they called his Rev. Martin Luther King jr. He was clergy. He often led people in prayer to achieve his ends. Comming together as a non-vilent entity in a show of solidarity is an extremely powerful statement.

      • Joshua Barrett

        Yet he didn’t try to pray problems away. Work did that.

        “Coming together as a non-violent entity in a show of solidarity is an extremely powerful statement.”

        Well being this only includes the religious its not really coming together whatsoever is it?

        Trying to trick people into “be good , God’s watching” has never worked.

        • David

          Prayer has been used as a tool through out history to partner the intellect and the will with higher ideals. To correct or embolden the process. Whether you are an athiest or not you have to recognize many great things are planned first.

          • Joshua Barrett

            Yes, and when you take those prayers out, you get the same result. True, it rouses the people, but that is because of their own ignorance. Using said ignorance to manipulate them is wrong, especially when you know better. repeating the mistakes of the past simply because people in the past made them and were still successful is not good reasoning.

            “To correct or embolden the process.”
            Your right, people have been manipulating other people too get what they want all throughout history.

            • Joshua Barrett

              The question is, is it right? For me the answer is no.

            • David

              Joshua as you are emboldened by your athiesim. The question often comes down to one of world view. Emotional Intelligence says to create resonence you must speak to a shared value or concern.
              I would besuprised to learn that you don’t value living in peace and harmony. If you are speaking to shared motives that is not manipulation that is a point of commonality.

              • Joshua Barrett

                nice. Instead of actually responding to a single point I made, you trying and “blame my atheism”. The only thing me being an atheist does is allow me to know that prayer doesn’t work. I also have morals. Those morals tell me that lying in order to manipulate is wrong, especially when there can be other, possible more effective ways.

                • David

                  I don’t remember blaming Athiesim? I spoke on EI. Its a facet of psychology. I spoke about shared values and said I atribute them to you. Was I wrong or simply misunderstood?

                • Joshua Barrett

                  I may have misunderstood your statement. “Joshua as you are emboldened by your athiesim” then. sorry ;)

                  “If you are speaking to shared motives that is not manipulation that is a point of commonality”

                  now I get what you are trying to say. I still think its wrong because even with the common goal. Prayer itself is not shown to work. in any circumstance. Still feels like taking advantage of ignorance to me. Moreover, it leaves the people in these communities in the same place they have always been.

                  They have been praying for years, its not done the trick. They need more than that.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  If religious people want to pray and make themselves feel better. fine. go for it. It makes little sense to me though to have the police validate that as a real life solution to a real problem. That simple

                • David

                  A reasonable qualm. I would say that in bringing many people to concensus you often have to walk across bridges as opposed to burning them.

            • Blacksheep

              Do you get the same result? I’m not sure. I would guess that praying to a higher authority that represents certain ideals and morals has more strength than simply doing good simply because it feels right. (That’s good too, but it becomes subjective).

              • Joshua Barrett

                As I said, it does rouse the people. Is there no other way? thats the only way you can think of to get people impassioned? Magic deities?

                does the prayers themselves work? no. this is obvious.
                Can religion control people? yes.

                does that make it right? no

              • David

                Pointing out that you and your identity are opposed to criminal activities is more powerful then simply encouraging the act. Any good sociologist will tell you that.

                • Blacksheep

                  I have no idea if you agree with my comment or not.

                • David

                  Yes I agree.

          • Carmelita Spats

            Prayer and lower ideals: denying women reproductive choice. They use “prayer” outside the clinic as an excuse to harass.They follow you to your car, take down license plate numbers, block the entrance as they “pray” and involve themselves in OTHER people’s private, medical, issues. Truly disgusting. Truly dirt-level ideals that certainly “emboldened-the-process-and-the-trigger” that “corrected” Dr. Tiller by shooting him. Brutes.

            • David

              Red Herring. Red Herring. I don’t believe we were talking about any of those things here.
              While we are throwing Red Herrings lets point out Hitler and Stalin were both Athiest. Not that it has anything to do with the topic.

              • Artor

                You lose this round of Jeopardy! How can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you say stupid shit like that? You lie as badly as Genghis Khan, who was a Christian, of course.

                I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.
                - Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

                • David

                  Again a Red Herring. Squirel !

            • Blacksheep

              But do you think the prayer walks will have an effect on crime?

              • Sweetredtele

                Walking, not the prayer does. If the prayer did, no reason to walk. Stop crime from the sofa while munching snackies.

              • TiltedHorizon

                Prayer walks have been tried already in several parts of the country to address crime, budget short falls, drought, etc. To my knowledge, crime rose anyway, townships still went bankrupt, rain came eventually not immediately (as rain tends to), and life’s issues continued. So does it work?

              • Artor

                While the walk is going on? Sure. Once they round the corner? Lock your doors and keep an eye on your car.

            • 3lemenope
          • jdm8

            I can make plans without talking to imaginary beings.

            • David

              For you it is imaginary but for them it is not. You do not have to be a person of high intellect to see things from others perspectives and respond accordingly.

          • SansDeus

            “Well you can pray in one had and crap in the other, see which one gets filled first.”

            Ever hear of the saying “there’s strength in numbers”? (and I’m not talking about the book in the bible).

            A group of people is a lot harder to harass/control and offers many more unknowns than picking on an individual. It’s also common sense that a person is less likely to get away with a crime if it’s done in front of a group of people (especially with availability of recording devices at everyone’s fingertips).

            The key phrase in the video is “When police or community members step up their presence in a neighborhood, crime often moves away.”

            Prayer literally has nothing to do with it. They would accomplish absolutely nothing if they stayed in their congregation sitting around praying instead of getting out on the streets.

            It’s akin to saying taking anti-nausea medication along putting scotch tape on your cheeks, helps with sea-sickness. It’s giving additional credit to something that literally has zero influence.

            • David

              I don’t believe the writer of this article would be overly concerned if they had stayed in their building. It is because they came out of their building in concert with the police that he is concerned.

              • SansDeus

                You’re missing the point or you failed to read the last paragraph.

                Just to be clear, I have no problem with the church members doing the walks — They’re free to waste their time as they see fit. But why is the local police department sponsoring this religious event? That’s not their job, nor should they be endorsing prayer as a solution for anything. Hell, beyond the unconstitutionality of it, that’s precisely the opposite of the sort of tangible solutions police departments are supposed to offer a community!

                If it had been an open call to everyone in all communities without the context of prayer it wouldn’t be an issue and if church groups showed up, great! But that isn’t the case; they specifically are promoting religiosity and as government employees they aren’t supposed to.

                • David

                  Why does the US Army sponsor similar Muslim activities in Afghanistan? Because they work to bring together the people for a common cause.
                  Government employees are not hindered from expressing their own faith but you problably did not mean it that way.
                  The basic crux of the problem for you as I understand it is that communities often congregate together based on issues of faith. The police made use of this for their own nonreligious purposes (public safety). You believe they should not make use of religious community leaders.
                  My main point is that the police are not under your restriction and neither should they. The Church has been used by the state for a number of purposes, from feeding the hungry, to clothing the naked, to hospitals ect. At the end of the day the state has recognized that the church has manny individuals that care about people all congregated together. Reach the group and you get the people.

                • SansDeus

                  Why does the US Army sponsor similar Muslim activities in Afghanistan? Because they work to bring together the people for a common cause.

                  First of all, compare apples to apples. Please cite some examples of where military service members encourage prayer or other religious activities to stop fighting (you know, endorsing religion).

                  I have friends who have had several tours over there. I’ve been told they will build something for the locals at the request of the Imam or provide supplies, but they don’t require the locals change faith or pray to god before giving it to them. They are acts of good will to show the locals that the government isn’t there to harm them. That’s working with someone of authority to get the opinion of the locals, it’s not conversion or requiring them to change religions.

                  Government employees are not hindered from expressing their own faith but you problably did not mean it that way.

                  You’re correct, I have no problem with the police practicing their own faith on their own time. Though that’s not the issue here.

                  The basic crux of the problem for you as I understand it is that communities often congregate together based on issues of faith.

                  Incorrect. I have no issue with church members coming up with the idea on their own and actually getting out and taking action against something for a matter of peace. They can do what they want on their own time and call it whatever they like (such as prayer walk) as long as it’s not harming people.

                  The police made use of this for their own nonreligious purposes (public safety). You believe they should not make use of religious community leaders.

                  Incorrect on both counts. They are promoting religion by including prayer in their motive.

                  If they had promoted it differently, for example if they said “Crime walk” or in your own words “Public Safety walk” and asked pastors to aid them in that instead of specifically saying “Prayer walk” (thus promoting religion over non-religion) there wouldn’t be a problem. That way they could also reach out to other members of the community if they phrased it correctly, such as local Gyms, Bars, Adult Sports associations, parents of school children, or even Atheist clubs.

                  My main point is that the police are not under your restriction and neither should they.

                  You’re correct, they aren’t under my restriction, but they are under the restriction of the First Amendment as government employees. If they were a group of bakers promoting a prayer walk (thus not making money on the government dime), there wouldn’t be an issue.

                  I doubt you’ll understand it though since several people have pointed these things out, but you continue to point your argument in the wrong direction spinning it as though we have issue that church members are used (also indicated by your example of the Muslims). So I’ll state it clearly WE DON’T TAKE ISSUE WITH THE FACT THEY ARE CHURCH MEMBERS OR THAT THEY APPROACHED PREACHERS! we are taking issue that government employees are endorsing religion by specifically calling it a prayer walk and then carrying it out that way!

                  2+2 != Q*.

                  *Unless Q is 4, but you’re thinking it equals the actual letter.

                • Spuddie

                  “Why does the US Army sponsor similar Muslim activities in Afghanistan?”

                  So you are saying Cincinnati is a war zone and its police are an occupying army. Isn’t that the kind of attitude which brings hostility to authorities in the first place?

                • David

                  My point is that it is used to establish effective governance. Its called community outreach. It is a cross roads between those governed and those governing by which a positive show of support is garnered.

                • Spuddie

                  Except it isn’t “community outreach” its only “that sect’s community” outreach.

                  Nothing saying a community outreach program can’t enlist the help of clergy. But if it is going to be sectarian as this clearly was, it becomes counterproductive and illegal when funded publicly. It looks like the police are an extension of the specific church. That hurts a cause more than it will help.

                • David

                  They did not use a specific Church. They used multiple churches (25 of them). By your own definition its not illegal. It would not be illegal unless it can be shown that someone wanted to participate and was not allowed.

      • badgerchild

        The reason they often choose clergy as public spokesmen is because clergy are proven loudmouths with a questionable message that they’ll go to any lengths to deliver and ram home to their captive audiences.

        • David

          Unless you are a member of a Cult they don’t bar the door. The message is questionable because this is an Athiestic website. You haven’t said anything but still you are talking.

      • baal

        While I agree with 3lemenope on the community solidarity argument, you are guilty of supporting the erasure of the secular folks who worked for Civil Rights.

        • David

          No I am not supporting the erasure of anyone. I am simply giving due respect to the role these individuals have had. These pastors are having a positive impact and they will continue to and so can you.

          • baal

            Three people work to pick up a table and move it. Two of them are thanked with beer and pizza and the thanks is posted to FB. The role of the 3rd person was silenced. It’s not that the 2 who had positive impact were given due respect.

            Not including everyone who had a significant role is disparagement of the excluded people.

            Let’s turn it around. Let’s say a church and an atheist group do a community clean up event. The atheist group gets interviewed on TV and says, “Yeah, we atheists rock, we had a huge positive impact and 20 miles of road were cleaned.” In fact they only cleaned 10 miles and the other 10 was done by the not mentioned church group.

            If your group is working solo, great! If you’re working with others but leave them out, it’s not great.

            • David

              So your complaint is based on who gets the credit? That is shallow. I would brather children not get shot. That is my reason for caring.

              • baal

                David, you are a piece of work and twist words like satan. The point is that you are not moral if you only praise the church leaders when others have helped too. Is you heart so small that you can only give credit for good things to your masters? Does it really hurt that much to give credit to other folks’ good work?

                • 3lemenope

                  I think the point is more that credit for the activity is secondary to the activity itself. It would be great if credit is given exactly as it is due, but the reality is most people most of the time go completely unheralded for daily acts that range from kind to heroic. And if the point is to show the wider community that atheists care too, that point is probably made and most effectively to the people there when the atheists show up.

                • baal

                  I agree fully with you but you’re giving David too much credit. The context of this side point is the civil rights struggle and him ignoring non-christians who helped it along. My meta-point is that David is ignoring the role of the police and even the rank and file church goers who make this type of parade useful in his zeal to give credit to the wrong people. He’s wearing horrible blinders.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Prayer didn’t “achieve his ends.” Work did. Protesting did. Making people come face to face with their bigotry and actions did.

        Talking to the sky is good for personal comfort, but that’s about it. Want proof? Look at the millions of people in this country begging their god to stop marriage equality, and then look at exactly how well that’s been going for them.

      • jdm8

        I think you’re forgetting that the racism that he was fighting against was religiously motivated.

        • David

          So are these mostly black pastors being racist against you or anyone else? If not then that argument does not follow in this case.

          • jdm8

            Uh, no.

            However, I think it perfectly illustrates why government endorsing religion, in particular, a specific religion, is a bad idea.

            • David

              No it does not make that point at all. Just about everything has been used for racist purposes. You are not advocating giving up any of the following; the internet, public schools, science, the US Constitution or free speach. If not then your premise is unfounded.

      • CottonBlimp

        You’re being offensively dense, here.

        Non religious socialists were protesting against segregations before MLK Jr was even born. The fact that, sincere or not, someone had to adopt the language of Christianity and a the authority of a reverend because Christians didn’t care to listen to anything else is not an indication of how great Christianity is.

        It’s rather disgusting to have Christianity praised because it was the solution to a problem Christianity created in the first place.

        • David

          I can hear your anger so I will be short so as to not offend (well maybe not). There have been people who protested segregation on both sides from the beginning. Just as there were people who protested slavery and all of societies ills.
          The fact that you attribute the ills to the other group and not your own means you are unwilling to walk across the bridge to address the problem. Why? Because they don’t look or act like you do?
          I don’t believe the Christians in this video are saying your at fault. I believe they are saying we as a community of faith are responsible for our community and we are going to work to take it back the streets from the crime that has infested the street.
          No one forced you to come. No one denied you from coming so why?

          • CottonBlimp

            I’m always willing to walk across the aisle. Most of the time, I don’t have a choice. I’m guessing you’re probably not an atheist, or you’d know that already.

            What I’m not willing to do, and what you have no right to ask of me, is to join an effort to promote YOUR religion. And this is the point of the prayer walk. It’s taking advantage of a real and pressing issue in the community as an excuse to alienate the non-Christians in that community. It’s self-absorbed and it’s disgusting.

            The onus is not on US to join you at your church. The onus is on YOU to leave your church behind to join US in the public square. And in the case of the PD, to actually do your fucking job.

            • David

              I don’t believe anyone is asking you to do anything. Did I ask you for anything? Your angry I get it. But for what reason I am completely oblivious.
              Are you angry that the police made an effort to reach out to the community to aid them in stoping crime?
              Are you angry that a small child might sleep a little safer tonight?
              No I think you have better values then that. From what I can get from you. You are just angry.

              • CottonBlimp

                I’m angry that the police DIDN’T make an effort to stop crime.
                I’m angry that a small child WON’T sleep a little safer tonight.
                I’m angry that, in a community likely brimming with anti-Christian bigotry, a secular, tax-payer funded government office made the effort to make that anti-Christian bigotry just a little bit worse.

                When a community doesn’t consider you worth considering, they don’t treat you very well, either. And so I feel for all the small children whose mistreatment by their peers and their own family isn’t illegal for all the suffering it will cause them.

                • David

                  Why won’t she be safer? What do you know about that? Bridging the community and the police force is effective.

                  “likely brimming with anti-Christian bigotry” realy? How do you know? Did they protest?
                  But now you get down to it. They did not consider you. Whenever you collect a group there are those who will be outside of the group. They will feal like are not encluded. But the sad fact here is that you were encluded.
                  What were all these people praying for? What were they showing their solidarity with? They were showing they were united with anyone who wants to make a difference in their community.

                • CottonBlimp

                  All they were showing was that they cared less about the problem at hand than showing off their faith.

                  I have no interest in convincing you of how alienating, pointless, and self-absorbed this kind of action is because you clearly couldn’t give a shit.

      • Artor

        I forget which police department MLK Jr. was a representative of. Oh, he was a private citizen organizing prayer marches? How exactly is that relevant here then?

        • David

          I don’t know they named a day after him. I think he was effective at rallying a community.

    • ThatGuy

      You don’t need to have prayer to show community strength and solidarity, just the walking. The praying can be done before or after the walk in a church or somewhere where multiple religions can pray at the same time and then meet to do the walk. That way, no one would be getting into trouble and they could have their “prayer walk”.

      I would say the prayer might even scare some people off from another religion or non-religion, just for the fact it’s being associated with a certain religion that isn’t theirs (which doesn’t do so much for community strength and whatnot).

      • David

        Did you miss that these were pastors? That the police was making use of them for public suport? If you want to impact the culture you must use powerful aspects of the culture to bring people together. By making it a prayer walk they gained the pastors congregation.

        • ThatGuy

          I fail to see how saying they could pray before/after walking instead of during the walk changes the fact that the pastors wouldn’t join in for the walking. Is it because asking the pastors to support walking to unite the community wouldn’t work unless you add something religious to it?

          • Jason Hinchliffe

            No, its because you’re using their congregation to create a critical mass to give the whole idea and anchor and some traction. A lot of the people in the neighbourhood probably identify as Christian and this could possibly bring them together and ignite to create community watch groups etc. which have a an effect on crime rates. Objecting to this and contacting the FFRF strikes me as petty and overly reactionary. Pick your battles. I do not believe this should be one of them.

            • Joshua Barrett

              ” A lot of the people in the neighbourhood probably identify as Christian and this could possibly bring them together and ignite to create community watch groups”

              A lot don’t. So where does that get us? A group self righteous religious people that think they are better than the rest.

              • Jason Hinchliffe

                …irony detected.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  right, because I’m walking around chanting , and being validated by police that what’s missing is more praying.
                  This all sounds like we are talking about children. Tricking the most ignorant among them to walk around and wish their problems away, because they believe in it. Sounds like we still got them in chains. Just mental ones, and exploiting that is not right.

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  Kid, the police saying that this prayer walk is a good idea is not a violation of secularism. No law is being made in respect of any religion. Community groups have been shown to be effective against crime. Churches, like it or not, are one of the better established infrastructures for pulling this off. So the police are perfectly justified in saying this is a good idea, because from a crime prevention standpoint, it is. This isn’t about your social agenda, its about people who want to feel safe in their neighbourhood. So unless the FFRF or American Atheists is gong to get in there and help, then kindly shut the fuck up and let these help themselves how they see fit.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  “Kid, the police saying that this prayer walk is a good idea is not a violation of secularism.”

                  Right, and being that I never said it did, or even referred to some “violation of secularism” I guess your arguing with an imaginary friend of your own.

                  “No law is being made in respect of any religion.”
                  Correct. However, right and wrong and morality is not synonymous with somethings’ legal status, so I fail to see your point.

                  “Community groups have been shown to be effective against crime. Churches, like it or not, are one of the better established infrastructures for pulling this off.”

                  right, Where are your numbers from? If this is true I would love more then your word “that it works”. Of course this still does not make it right. A lie for their own good?

                  “This isn’t about your social agenda, its about people who want to feel safe in their neighbourhood. ”

                  good feelings are nice. You know what is better? REAL safety and not just some perception that the magic man is gonna help.

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  That would be a 2008 DoJ study on the issue amongst other smaller studies that are widely available to anyone who has ever heard of Google. It shows they are very effective. Sounds like real safety to me. Now please, come back with something substantive or admit you’re wrong and move on.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  then link the Study. “it’s on google” is not proof, just laziness. What term did you use etc, would be helpful if you are inclined to be so lazy.

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  http://journalistsresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/e040825133-res-review3.pdf

                  Sorry, guess you’re busy masturbating with your typing hand? Now here sweet pea. Read up and fuck off.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  nice. unfortunately We are not talking about walking and patrolling. We are talking about praying. Let me explain logic for you.

                  we have two things Walking and praying.
                  they are not the same thing. We know this because walking has a set of properties and so does praying. The thing is each of these properties are different. One includes using legs to move around. the other includes asking a magic force to do something for you.

                  notice how that study says nothing about invoking cosmic forces.

                  nice strawman “evidence” though.

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  Your level of ignorance nearly demands respect, due to the dedication it must take to achieve it.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  Yes and your lack of an ability to demonstrate any of your claims (including this one) is impeccable

                • Joshua Barrett

                  searching “2008 doj prayer study” yields nothing.
                  Again please provide a real source, otherwise I can only conclude you simply made that up

              • David

                If they don’t care to support these things in the current venue they are capable of joining or forming their own groups. PTA and other organizations have their own rallies for similar purposes. Similarly neighborhood watches have had marches or patrols for similar purposes.

                • allein

                  The point is that a public entity (the police department) should not be involved in religious activities like this. The churches can still have their prayer walks without the police involvement.

                • David

                  So the Police should not make use of effective governance? Let me guess you would be upset with the US Military for making use of Imams in Afghanistan because they are also religious leaders? These are community figure heads. Get over it. It does not pay well to put your eyes out to spite some one else.

                • allein

                  What part of “prayer walks to reduce crime” is governance, effective or otherwise?

                • David

                  Making use of local community leaders when possible to achieve secular ends is standard practice in the Police and the Army.
                  If ir wasn’t effective it would not be in the Center for Army Lessons Learned.

              • 3lemenope

                Atheism isn’t a damn allergy to all things religious.

                If a community congregation decides to march for Great Justice (whatever that happens to be), and your reason to not participate, despite believing in their cause, is that they have religious fooferah, I would suggest that your commitment to that cause is shallow.

                Agreement in all things is not and cannot be a prerequisite for working with people on large and resistant social problems.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  Right, let the community do it then. Its questionable when its being validated by the police department as a real crime prevention measure

                • Blacksheep

                  If it works then it’s a valid crime prevention measure, from a scientific perspective.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  OK, now show me the science that actually shows that it does, and not your own conjecture and you will have the beginnings of a real argument

                • Blacksheep

                  When I logged on I wasn’t anticipating a project…
                  maybe there’s data out there.

                • Artor

                  Pro-tip; There is, and it doesn’t support your claims.

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  Pro tip, there is, and you’re wrong.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  When I have I suggested that Religious people not get together and do religious things? not once. I have suggested that the police not endorse this as real crime prevention measures.

              • Blacksheep

                I’m not sure if you’re right – I actually think that most do identify with Christianity in that neighborhood.

                Trying to solve a problem is not being self righteous. But – criticizing someone out on the street who is making an effort because you have decreed it wrong is the definition of self righteousness.

                Are you saying that individual groups of different faiths (including atheism) should never do good unless all belief is stripped out? Nobody should be that controlling.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  no, I did not say any of those things did I?

                  I am saying that police should not validate prayer as effective law enforcement policy. Can these local “faith leaders” not do this themselves?

                • Blacksheep

                  Do we know whether or not it is effective law enforcement policy? It may not work at all, but crime is extremely bad in some areas, and police are not very effective.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  ” police are not very effective.”
                  right. exactly. And these uneffective police and continuing this tread bu endorsing prayer.

                  “Do we know whether or not it is effective law enforcement policy?”
                  Unkown to me. I’ll look into it if I got some time (not that I have not wasted a ton here already hehe )

                • Blacksheep

                  I need to get back to work too – for some reason I like having discussions here. (I think it’s because atheists are smart).

                  It would be good to look into – my guess? it does work – but maybe not in the long term.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  Definitely a interesting angle to the topic too

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  They aren’t. They’re saying being visible in your community is effective against crime. It is.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  right. So its the walking, not the praying. So why are we equivocating the two? I am not against police advocated walking and patrolling.

                • Jason Hinchliffe

                  But as soon as you add praying it no longer works. Right.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  I never said that, nor have I argued once the effectiveness of patrolling. If you have an actual reason why the police should be advocating prayer I would like to hear it. There are other ways to get people to patrol other than telling them they need to go outside and invoke a god for protection.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  And I’ll ask again why do the police need to advocate the prayer part? They can organize community patrols and if people in said community want to join and pray in the process, they should.

                • Joshua Barrett

                  praying is not doing good. praying is walking around wishfully thinking.

                • Blacksheep

                  I don’t think I said “praying is doing good” – it’s the whole thing that’s good, and in this particular case, it’s driven and inspired by faith. If it solves a collective problem, that’s good. I would never in a million years complain if a humanist organization had a method of lowering crime by walking around and doing something. (I say humanist because “atheist” can sometimes be anti-religion, which (in it’s “anti” form has no place in a multi-faceted society).

                • Joshua Barrett

                  ” If it solves a collective problem, that’s good.”
                  I understand that, but I think it also makes common problems worse, and I still question that it does anything at all to help the problem we are talking about.

                • allein

                  “in it’s “anti” form has no place in a multi-faceted society”

                  Why not?

                • Joshua Barrett

                  I do agree that all faith should actually work together and do good. none of that involves the police and a policy of prayer

          • David

            Pastors willingly go to all sorts of meetings. But Pastors unite their congregation around a shared faith. The police provided a vehicle by which they could express this faith in renewed ownership of the neighborhood.

            • allein

              The police provided a vehicle by which they could express this faith

              Which is the part we have a problem with.

              • David

                You provide a vehicle by which Christians often express their faith to you by being on this website. Are you saying you are endorsing Chrisitianity?
                No you have your own purposes. You are not endorsing any of the religious groups that may come onto this site. You are facilitating dialogue for your own ends.

                • allein

                  How do I, personally, provide a vehicle by commenting on a website? I don’t own the website, I’m just a visitor like you. My participating in a discussion on a privately run website on the internet in no way endorses what any other participant says or does. Hemant, and Patheos, support a forum for people of all faiths and none to discuss relevant issues, but that doesn’t mean they “endorse” what any individual commenter says. At most, they endorse people’s right to express their opinions. Hemant speaks for himself only, and the rest of us get to respond as we see fit. You’ll notice plenty of people (including yourself) come here specifically to disagree with him. But Hemant is not a representing any government entity. If he was writing this blog as “Hemant Mehta: A Public School Teacher” and posting it on his school’s official website, and not simply “Hemant Mehta on his own time,” there are many of us, including myself, who would say that is innapropriate and probably illegal. The police department is an arm of the government and, as such, should not be using that office to promote religious activities. It’s really pretty simple.

                • David

                  By participating you provide the vehicle. But to answer your question. You are right you do not endorse religion and neither are the police. This was simply a forum for people of faith to express their views in support of the police department objectives.

                • allein

                  They were joined by members of the Cincinnati Police Department, which helped come up with the initiative.

                  Police officials and church leaders have mutually extended an invitation to all members of the community

                  Sure sounds like the police endorsing religious activity to me. The police department should neither be helping to initiate religious events, nor issuing invitations to citizens to join them. It’s really not a complicated concept and is not in any way comparable to my participating in a conversation on a privately-run website (and it is the site, not my comments, that is the “vehicle” for this increasingly pointless discussion; by your logic, you are providing the vehicle for my comments as well – are you therefore endorsing my viewpoint?).

                • David

                  Sure sound like police making use of community leaders to deal with a community problem.
                  My point exactly on your endorsement argument. I am glad you finaly got that one. I am not endorsing your view. You are not endorsing my view and the police are not endorsing the church’s view. You get it. Thank you.

                • allein

                  And you still don’t understand the difference between private individuals posting comments on a private website and a government entity helping to initiate and promote religious activities among its citizens.

                • David

                  Since you have accepted that it is not an endorcement issue I fail to see how Private or government comes into play. It does not bridge the establishment clause and so does not apply.

                • allein

                  You’re just purposely misreading, aren’t you? When did I accept that the police inviting people to a religious event is not an endorsement issue? I specifically said that people having a conversation on a website is not endorsing one another’s views. I also specifically said that the police, as an arm of the government, has no business initiating or inviting citizens to religious activities. Private vs. government is exactly where the problem comes in. And now I’ve repeated myself several times and this is getting old. Have a nice day.

                • David

                  If participation does not equal support then the government participating with religious organizations does not equal support of their organizations.

                • allein

                  The police helping to initiate the event and inviting people to join in is not just “participation.” If officers want to attend on their own time, that would be participation. The police department is doing these prayer events as The Police Department, not as individual citizens on their own time. That is the government endorsement. This is not that hard.

            • Artor

              The police disregarded the Constitutional separation of Church and State. I fail to see how committing a crime helps reduce crime.

        • Baby_Raptor

          And Fuck those of us who don’t believe in prayer, right? We’re not “part of the culture.” We don’t need to be made to feel welcomed.

          Ditto for people who believe in prayer, but support the separation of church and state, or don’t support public shows of fake self-righteousness.

          • David

            I am sorry did you feal a need to not show up? If they could solve the issue without the pastors they would have done it already. If you are concerned about it enough as an Atheist I encourage you to coordinate with the police and hold your own rally. The police needed the pastor’s political capitol and so they made use of it.

            • Joshua Barrett

              “If they could solve the issue without the pastors”

              they are solving the issue with the pastors? really? or so they just keep doing things like this that do nothing at all?

              • David

                Uniting a significant portion of the community around a central idia…yes that works toward solving the problem.

            • Baby_Raptor

              There are plenty of things that have been proven time and time again to lower crime rates. Improving schools, access to better education/healthcare/jobs, access to after school programs such as art and music…Can you show me that all of these have already been tried and for some reason just magically failed here?

              No? Then Your second sentence is invalid. Insert another quarter and try again.

              And the fact that you’re completely willing to throw a good chunk of the citizenry under the bus simply because they don’t agree with you is sickening. I bet you’d be howling if the situation were reversed.

              • David

                Who through anyone under the bus? Pointing out other agencies have had an impact is called promotion. Pointing out they might meet your needs is an encouragement to you and them.

                • Baby_Raptor

                  We have no idea if this has had an impact or not. Or do you have magical info that these people don’t?

                  Further, this is unconstitutional. It’s a state endorsement of religion, and it disenfranchises anyone not of the religion shown preference. The state, and you by insisting that this is okay, are throwing everyone in the city not of an evangelical Christian bent under the bus.

                  And you can suggest all day long that talking to the sky might help someone, but there’s no proof prayer actually works. It’s been studied. Most of the results showed that the people prayed for did *worse.*

                  I have no idea what you mean with your last sentence, so I have no comment there.

                • David

                  It is not unconstitutional. They are not supporting them. They are making use of them. Should we kick all the food pantries out of the Churches too?
                  I guess quite a few people are going to have to starve before you accept it.

              • Blacksheep

                Wait – sorry to jump in – are you saying that MLK threw people under the bus by praying primarily Christian prayers? It was his faith that drove him, you cannot separate the two.

                • Baby_Raptor

                  No, that comment was in response to David.

                  That said, I don’t see how wording a prayer so that it doesn’t sound strictly Christian is “separating someone from their faith.” To separate someone from their faith, you would have to take it away from them somehow. What words they say has no real effect on what they’re thinking/meaning, which is what would ultimately matter RE staying true to one’s faith or not. Using a more “broad” sounding prayer would just be a courtesy…If god is really up there, he’d know what the person meant.

    • Blacksheep

      …Unless the one doing the praying decides not to do the crime because through prayer he is reminded of what he believes.

      • Artor

        Yeah, the numbers of Xians in prison shows how well THAT works.

        • David

          You might as well blame obesity on dieting and exercise. I mean alot of my family members are obese and they all diet and exercise. So diet and exercise don’t work that is the problem.

      • CottonBlimp

        You mean when he’s reminded that Jesus forgives him of all sins?

  • Whitney S

    Wow. I’m a criminal justice grad student at the University of Cincinnati. We do everything we can to get this police department to think scientifically about crime. All the crime mapping, meta-analyses, and research can’t seem to rival the power of superstition. I believe they also hire psychics on occasion to find missing persons. What an embarrassment. If they were endorsing a neighborhood watch or community awareness program I wouldn’t care, but asking for magical intervention makes them look desperate.

  • Carla

    You’re missing the nuances of Cincinnati culture. Religion is one of the few inroads the police have found in the last few years to reach under-privileged racial minorities in this city. Half the city is being gentrified and filled with young “liberals” who seem to have no problem making the poor poorer just to get a nice apartment, and the other half is made of white Republicans who think of “the blacks” like you imagine your great-grandparents did. The city is still off-balance from the race riots in 2001, and racial tensions are pretty high in parts of the city. The police turned to religious communities under the last chief as a way to reach young, poor blacks. I, for one, have no problem with them doing these sorts of things as a way to build trust between the police and the community. My issue is that it’s not backed up by efforts to help these people get out of poverty, nor is it helping the “rich whites” see these mostly black congregations as equals.

    • captain_picard

      I’m with you. If this is all that happens, it’s not enough, but if this is a beginning, then I think it could be very effective. In neighborhoods with higher crime, the police may be viewed with distaste or anger; I’d hate to think of children growing up thinking they can’t trust the police. Seeing that officers actually care about the community and not just putting people in jail could make a difference in attitudes and would be a good beginning.

      • Spuddie

        Going on little marches to pray together is not the same as organizing community watches, creating opportunities for youth to do anything besides joining gangs, or foster a culture which doesn’t looks at legal authority like an occupying power.

        • Carla

          Yeah, but that’s the part this article missed. They are doing a ton of other great things to reach out to the largely black poor community. This is just one thing.

          • Spuddie

            Of course they chose to limit it to the definition of community to only those who go to the church of the specific sect. Even good intentions end up shooting themselves in the foot by making it a religious thing.

            So what was so difficult with making it a community walk? Not enough Jesus?

    • Andrew Eaves

      I loved this! People who are not from Cincinnati are missing a large piece of the history behind what is really going on in Cincinnati. (We can probably say that about any city.) The Cincinnati Police’s numbers are quite positive actually. I link to an article written today with stats on crimes for Jan-May 2012 vs 2013.

      http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/downtown/reported-crime-rates-fall-around-downtown-cincinnati-despite-recent-rash-of-violence

    • Greg G.

      I’m not comfortable with government agencies using religion to make “inroads” to manipulate people’s behavior.

  • TiltedHorizon

    Stop! In the name of the LAWd!

  • Spuddie

    I guess the police are thinking that if people are preoccupied with praying, they won’t be robbing and shooting each other.

    That is until they stop praying and then they go home to resume robbing and shooting each other.

  • Blacksheep

    Has it worked?
    This feels like something that might make a difference, as human nature is such that people are often more willing to change bahavior when it originates from within rather than from the outside, like the threat of police, etc. It would be great to see if this actually works.

    • Mario Strada

      Indeed, when people retake their community in force, it can have a beneficial effect. Hard to sell drugs or kill one another with a street full of civilians.

      it’s the praying that has no effect at all. And it’s the praying that the police should not be promoting, being part of the local government.
      If they limited it to a “community Walk” and let any given group to walk, walk and pray or whatever, it would be fine. But endorsing the prayer is off bounds.

  • jdm8

    I wonder if someone could take part in the march, vocally praying to the pantheon of mighty unicorns.

    • Blacksheep

      That would be a good study: Take two crime ridden neighborhoods, have one group pray to a unicorn and the other to God – and see the results.

      • Gus

        The problem is that crime statistics are kept by police. They’re not blinded in any way, the department makes a conscious decision of how it will make them look if they record this crime report. Basically, finding causation for damn near anything with regard to crime is nearly impossible.

        But if we’re going to do that we’ll need more than two neighborhoods, because we really ought to be comparing not to unicorns, but to community oriented policing, hot spot policing, community investment, economic programs……

  • aoscott

    What a waste. They could have put those churches and pastors to good use by working to build the community, and getting officers involved in the community. That is something good that can actually come from a church, as they are in a position to help bring people together. It’s known that community outreach is a great way to reduce crime.

  • Seth

    As a citizen in 513, thank you


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