Take Back the Night from Whom?

In Davis, liberal elites, perpetually in the subjunctive mood, show more interest in fake crime than real crime. If people truly want to “take back the night,” they should pay more attention to actual threats and less to the nostrums of the politically correct.

Davis, California, an agricultural and university town of 66,000 people just west of Sacramento, arguably contends with Berkeley and Santa Monica as the most politically correct city in the Golden State. The greens in city hall built a tunnel to enable a toad to cross a major thoroughfare safely, and a few years ago a popular Davis eatery called Murder Burger renamed itself Redrum Burger to satisfy residents unnerved by the original name’s “violent” connotations. But a real-life, horrific double murder has revealed some hard truths about Davis, an otherwise low-crime town.

From 1999 through 2011, the city recorded three murders, 33 rapes, 38 robberies, and 41 assaults. The city’s violent crime rate in 2011 was far below the national average—a pattern that held for the previous decade, too. Oddly, reports from the University of California at Davis during roughly the same period paint a nightmarish picture of a place resembling early 1990s New York City. Why might that be? For 16 years, a woman named Jennifer Beeman ran the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program, an arm of the campus police department. In 2011, a Yolo County superior court judge sentenced Beeman to 180 days in state prison and five years’ probation for embezzlement and falsification of records pertaining to campus violence. In 2001, for example, Beeman claimed in a federal grant application that as many as 700 Davis students were victims of rape or attempted rape every year. University officials eventually conceded that Beeman “significantly over-reported” the figures, but her fakery drew down four federal grants totaling more than $3 million. Some of that money went to a campaign to “Take Back the Night.”


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