In her letter in the July 31 issue of The Outlook, Brenda Carney writes 'Let us all do the right thing and get rid of Measure 11 because getting rid of violence with threats is not working.' In fact, Measure 11 has worked very effectively to prevent countless thousands of the crimes it covers: aggravated assaults, armed robberies, kidnapping, child molestation, rape and other sexual assaults, manslaughter, attempted murder and murder.
When Measure 11 took effect in 1995, Oregon's violent crime rate had been at near-peak levels for a decade. Starting in 1996, Oregon's violent crime rate decreased for seven consecutive years. The total decrease was 44 percent compared to 28 percent nationally. Of all states, Oregon had the largest decrease in violent-crime rate during that period.
Oregon now has approximately 8,000 fewer reported violent crimes per year than in 1995. We do not claim that Measure 11 is solely responsible for this, but we do believe that it made a substantial contribution, and at a far lower cost than estimated when Measure 11 was presented to voters in 1994.
Measure 11 keeps about 3,500 violent criminals and serious sex offenders in prison rather than on our street. This costs each Oregonian about $31 per year, or less than one penny per incarcerated criminal. A Washington State think tank estimates that 2.5 violent crimes are prevented each year for each additional violent criminal in prison.
Measure 11 has delivered exactly what it promised to voters. It is not going away. Criminals who don't like Measure 11 can avoid its consequences by not committing violent crimes. Friends, families and advocates for criminals can help by doing something to change a culture which tolerates, excuses and in some cases promotes criminality.
Readers can find sources for the facts mentioned above on the Crime Victims United Web site at http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/presentation/.
Crime Victims United