Fargo-area politicians and activists will no doubt have a lot of success milking this issue for notoriety, and donations, but even if they’re successful in implementing a policy, and even if that local policy withstands legal scrutiny under state law, it isn’t likely to change much of anything.
MINOT, N.D. — Bias crime laws, the new lingo for hate crime laws, are, from the perspective of public policy, not all that unlike policies the death penalty or sex offender laws.
They’re all great for politicians who want to fire up a certain kind of voter.
They make a certain amount of sense, at least superficially. If we want less of something, then stiffer punishment should deter it, right?
Plus, there’s the catharsis afforded by feeling like you’re really sticking it to people who do awful things.
Except, in practice, things don’t actually work that way.
The death penalty doesn’t deter crime. “[T]here is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment,” the ACLU tells us. “States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates.”
Sex offender registries don’t work either. About 93% of sex crimes against children are committed by someone that child already knows, not some stranger. Around 95% of sex crimes are committed by people who wouldn’t even be on a registry in the first place.