Police Protection Inadequate: Vigilantism No Answer to Crime

Resort to vigilantism was condemned by two Jewish spokesmen as a more dangerous form of violence to a community than the crimes its use is intended to counter. This was the opinion expressed by Arnold Forster, General Counsel, and Benjamin Epstein, National Director, of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, on “Right Now!”, a television program broadcast by WOR-TV. Commissioner Jack M. Sable of the State Division of Human Rights, host moderator of the half-hour show, asked his ADL guests how to answer the fears of people who assert: “I want to live in the community; I don’t want to flee any longer; I have no place to go, and the police are indifferent to my safety.” Epstein and Forster agreed that police protection was inadequate.

Forster added: “We cannot solve this by killing each other with guns. I think the answer is law and order. If we forego and surrender law and order. If we forego and surrender law and order, we are anarchists; we are nothing; we wind up destroying one another. It is not a problem of racism–a problem of religious discrimination or of racial prejudice. It is a problem of violence that has infected and diseased our cities, which need far more enforcement programs than we’ve given them thus far.” Epstein noted that “the ratio of policemen to population in New York is so poor as compared to many of our other cities that what we need in New York is the kind of police protection and manpower, personnel, modern techniques that will really give protection to the city.” Sable, who is a social planner, said that he was “deeply concerned” with the fact that there is no long-range planning for our communities and that we redirect our resources only after it becomes an issue of violence and a threat of total community collapse. He called for better integrated neighborhoods, providing better homes and employment opportunities. The television program was broadcast Saturday.

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