it happens to many. Some Chicago officers tell of times when they were afraid to enter the Homes. It was named after a distinguished black who had been, during the 1940s, chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority. We are not confident that there is a satisfactory answer except to hope that by their selection, training, and supervision, the police will be inculcated with a clear sense of the outer limit of their discretionary authority. None of this is easily reconciled with any conception of due process or fair treatment. Today, the atmosphere has changed. That limit, roughly, is thisthe police exist to help regulate behavior, not to maintain the racial or ethnic purity of a neighborhood. And only a tiny fraction of gang-related crimes can be solved by an arrest; thus, if an arrest is the only recourse for the police, the residents' fears will go unassuaged. But problems persist, chief among them the presence of youth gangs that terrorize residents and recruit members in the project. Not long after it opened, in 1962, relations between project residents and the police deteriorated badly.
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But in cases where behavior that is tolerable to one person is intolerable to many others, the reactions of the othersfear, withdrawal, flightmay ultimately make matters worse for everyone, including the individual who first professed his indifference. The people expect the police to "do something" about this, and the police are determined to do just that. Several young persons who saw the theft voluntarily passed along to the police information on the identity and residence of the thief, and they did this publicly, with friends and neighbors looking. The police will soon feel helpless, and the residents will again believe that the police "do nothing." What the police in fact do is to chase known gang members out of the project. Since both residents and gang members are black, race is not a factor. The citizens felt that the police were insensitive or brutal; the police, in turn, complained of unprovoked attacks on them. Police-citizen relations have improvedapparently, both sides learned something from the earlier experience. We would be apprehensive about the police taking sides. Consider the case of the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, one of the largest public-housing projects in the country. The law defines my rights, punishes his behavior and is applied by that officer because of this harm. The tacit police-citizen alliance in the project is reinforced by the police view that the cops and the gangs are the two rival sources of power in the area, and that the gangs are not going to win. It is home for nearly 20,000 people, all black, and extends over ninety-two acres along South State Street.
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