by William Petrocelli

We were probably expecting just a simple, political-year biography, so Kamala Harris’s new book Smart on Crime comes as a pleasant surprise. This thoughtful book is almost a mini-criminology course, with discussions of neighborhood protection strategies, the impact of education on crime, the lingering effects of violence, and all sorts of provocative ideas.

Take, for example, Harris’ emphasis on fighting truancy.

“Our truancy and drop-out rate situation not only is an economic catastrophe, from the position of law enforcement it has literally deadly consequences,  … After I took office and began to focus on truancy,  I asked for a study of our murder profiles from 2004 to 2008. It turned out that 94 percent of San Francisco’s homicide victims under the age of twenty-five were high school dropouts. The demographics of the murderers are the same.”

This is a book well worth reading.