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Paul Romer
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This is brilliant!! Thanks
Robert Marchenoir July 28, 2010 at 10:32 AM
I've just read in the linked article that the Bad Behavior Brigade in Paris exists since 1986. I have been living in Paris for much longer than that, and I just learned of its existence through your website.

It's not like the city of Paris does not spend millions of euros of taxpayer money annually to wastefully advertise its actions. But it's the first time I hear about an anti-peeing brigade in my own city.

How efficient is a police force nobody knows about ?

Furthermore, it's not really a police force : I'm absolutely sure they are not armed, not even with a baton, which makes them look like clowns as far as the French offending public is concerned.

Sure, they might catch a few white, middle-aged, mildly-mannered pissers here and there.

But even the Wall Street Journal's correspondent acknowledges they do not bother with the hordes of homeless and illegal immigrants scattering the streets of Paris, which no full-fledged police force ever removes from the pavement and metro either.

I'm also pretty sure there is one category of the population they do not interfere with : young Muslim or black males.

Just refusing a cigarette to one of them, or even looking at them the wrong way, could get you stabbed in Paris. I'm very, very doubtful some plainclothes, unarmed municipal agents would risk their lives to prevent them peeing or spitting in the streets.

The heavy spitting in France, which had practically disappeared after WWII thanks to intensive anti-tuberculosis propaganda, is back with a vengeance.

It is mostly due to young Muslim males. During the ramadan, they have this perception that the prohibition of drink during the day extends to absorbing one's own saliva. It's wrong, of course, even by Islamic standards, but it offers them one more opportunity to deface their environment. And this charming custom is enforced all year round, not only during the ramadan.

I bet you a case of mouton-rotschild against a used condom that our brave Bad Behaviour Brigadists tend to look the other way when spitting or urinating in the streets of Paris is done by Muslims.

But I'm quite sure they do take huge risks to rip open the occasional garbage bag left by a business on the pavement, and rummage through it in search of a name and address.

I wouldn't bet they do even that in heavily Muslim areas of Paris, such as Barbès ou Goutte-d'Or, though.

Just a feeling, you know ?
Aparently the author hasn't visited NYC lately. Our newest New Yorkers routinely spit in the streets and piss in corners and alleys. Cops don't say or do a thing about it. Wouldn't want to be culturally insensitive now would we? The most evident change for the worse are some of the newly unstaffed subway staions that are the scene of all of the above plus turnstyle jumping. If the Mayor of New York thinks the City is doing well, it is because he isn't paying attention.
I'm not surprised at the "problem" in Paris. For generations public pissoirs have been all but nonexistent, and it was normal behaviour to relieve one's pressure in whatever location seemed appropriate. And what else was a body to do? There are huge areas of the city where there is nowhere to perform this function. Cafés and bistros were not required to have facilities available to their clients, as here in the USA. What amazes me is that, having allowed this practice to persist, and having utterly failed to provied an alternative venue for this necessary activity, now, when the eyes of the world (and noses of the masses IN Paris for this event) are turned upon that fair city, someone has suddenly decided to rectify a situation of long duration.

As to the persistence of the squeegee brigades, New Yorkers themselves are solely to blame for their continuing so long. Had they united in a universal refusal to surrender to the demands for payment, the behaviour never would have gained traction in the beginning. Just like busking in the US... vagrants persist in holding their cardboard "God Bless" signs precisely BECAUSE so many give in to the shame emanating from the beggars and put money in their cans. Behaviour that is regularly reinforced will continue. And it is, in the main, the general public reinforcing such behaviour.
I am assuming that the urination problem is primarily a male one!!!
"New York Police Department dramatically reduced violations by publicly announcing its intent to punish offenders and then following through with intensive arrests."

We could dramatically decrease terrorist activity if we treated their host governments--Iran, Somalia, Syria and Saudi Arabia in the same way.
"dramatically reduced violations by publicly announcing its intent to punish offenders and then following through with intensive arrests"

And that, good people, is how you solve the problem of having 13 million illegal aliens in the USA.
In most of the European countries it is against their Constitutions to publicly display or name the offenders.
According to my exploration, billions of persons all over the world get the business loans at well known creditors. Hence, there's a good chance to get a credit loan in all countries.
It's very interesting to see how "social deviancy" varies across cities.

In Singapore since the late '80s at least one version is peeing on elevators. Which led to elevator urine detectors and public ridicule via Straits Times. And no durian on the MRT.

Jaywalking expected in Chicago, but not in Seattle.

It seems that the author might have buried the lede:
"Because the conventional economic analysis of crime treats norms as external factors beyond our control, it may be missing much of the action on the front lines."

The "external factors beyond our control" tend to be the most interesting parts of a problem and to assume them all away is very dissatisfying from an observer's point of view.
In most passenger trains in southern India the ban on smoking is being complied with voluntarily.
Scofflaws begin early in life, Grafitti is an example of juvenile frustration being acted out and recorded for public display. Punishment does not involve the parents of the minors who are too rarely caught. Difficult home life can promote the use of the aerosol can as a non-violent weapon of reprisal. Involve the family, publishing the pictures of the parents where possible. Put family dysfunction on dispaly in the news media. Grafitti is a hidden crime committed in the dark. It is a shameful destruction of property by defacement. It should always be erased as quickly as possible. A delinquent's name sprayed on the side of an overpass should not be the high point of an adolescent's life.
What does the Paris "Bad Behavior Brigade" do when, um, "youths" set cars alight?
Maybe, just maybe the BBB's urinate on the blazing autos?
What does the Paris "Bad Behavior Brigade" do when, um, "youths" set cars alight?