GRE Argument Essay 44

The following appeared in a recommendation from the president of Amburg’s Chamber of Commerce.

Last October the city of Belleville installed high intensity lighting in its central business district, and vandalism there declined almost immediately. The city of Amburg has recently begun police patrols on bicycles in its business district but the rate of vandalism there remains constant. Since high intensity lighting is apparently the most effective way to combat crime, we should install such lighting throughout Amburg. By reducing crime in this way, we can revitalize the declining neighborhoods in our city.

The president of Amburg’s Chamber of Commerce has recommended installing high intensity lighting in its central business district. He has supported his argument by pointing out that when Belleville took similar action vandalism declined there almost immediately. As per the president, Amburg has recently begun police patrols in its business districts but the situation has not improved. However, the argument is not well supported and flawed.

First of all, the author has falsely assumed that the situation in Belleville has improved after installation of high intensity lighting. The author has failed to support his assumption that there was not any other measure adopted by the city of Belleville to stop vandalism. There is a possibility that around the same time the city added police units or more after-school youth programs. It might be possible that initially there was a decline in the vandalism but after sometime vandals have grown accustomed to the lighting and are no longer deterred by it. Without ruling out all other feasible options, it is wrong to conclude the argument. Even if, we assume that installing high intensity lighting worked in Belleville, it cannot be said with surety that the same course of action will work in Amburg also.

Secondly, according to the president Amburg’s bicycle patrol has been ineffective in deterring vandalism. It is a hastily taken assumption. There might be some other factors like a demographic shift or worsening economic conditions that have served to increase vandalism, while the bicycle patrol has offset that increase. Hence, the president should have insisted on finding the other conditions affecting the incidence of vandalism to support his recommendation.

Finally, the president has falsely assumed that high-intensity lighting and bicycle patrolling are Amburg’s only possible means of reducing crime. In all likelihood, there are a myriad of other choices such as social programs and juvenile legal-system reforms. Moreover, vandalism is not the only crime in Amburg. The president should have given evidence to prove that high-intensity lighting would deter other types of crime to strengthen his statement.

Further as per the president, reducing crime would result in a revitalization of city neighborhoods is unwarranted. There is no evidence that the decline of Amburg’s city neighborhoods is attributed to the crime rate in Amburg’s central business district and not to some other factors. It might be that decline in neighborhood is due to availability of cheaper and more attractive housing in suburbs of the city. This is also not clear from the statement that whether the neighborhoods in decline are located within the central business district or not. The president has not considered all these factors before concluding this debate. He should have explored other means to decrease just not vandalism but other crimes as well in Amburg.

Hence, it can be said that the recommendations of the president are not well supported. He should have supported his argument by showing that the decline in vandalism in Belleville was a lasting one and it was attributed to the high intensity lighting. The president must also show that lighting would be more effective than any other means at Amburg’s disposal to reduce overall crime rates in Amburg.