Italians Use Soldiers to Prevent Crime
Soldiers were deployed throughout Italy on Monday to embassies, subway and railway stations, as part of broader government measures to fight violent crime here for which illegal immigrants are broadly blamed.
The conservative government of Silvio Berlusconi won elections in April while promising to crack down on petty crime and illegal immigrants. The new patrols of soldiers, who are not empowered to make arrests, do not seem aimed only at illegal immigrants, though the patrols were deployed to centers where illegal immigrants are housed.
“Security is something concrete,” Mr. La Russa said on Monday. The troops, he said, will be a “deterrent to criminals.”
That reminds me of one of my favorite logical fallacies: “We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do it.” It does seem largely to be a demonstration of “doing something” by the Berlusconi government. The legitimate police, of course, think it’s a terrible idea.
“You need to be specially trained to carry out some kinds of controls,” Nicola Tanzi, the secretary of a trade union that represents Italian police officers. “Soldiers just aren’t qualified.”
He also questioned whether the $93.6 million that will be spent for the extra deployment, called Operation Safe Streets, might not have been better used to increase the budgets for Italy’s police and military.