Today I viewed Reason.tv’s “Violent Crime Decreases After San Francisco Stopped Prosecuting Drug Users.”

The story was essentially a feature on San Francisco’s chief of police and former narcotics officer, Greg Suhr. Suhr believes his unique approach of effectively decriminalizing small time users of certain drugs (and disbanded the same narcotics unit he was once a part of) was a primary contributor to the drop in violent crime in the city. Suhr said this was because doing so freed more resources for police to pursue more important types of crime.

For it’s 3:33 entirety, I believe Reason’s video is well done. It initiates with an effective opener where the video starts immediately with an important and effective quick blurb from Suhr that summarizes his beliefs, before cutting away.

Specifically, it begins, “I’m a narc. I’ve been a narcotics guy forever, but I’m just telling you, I’ve always felt bad for the people that were addicted to drugs.”

Reason than promptly cut away to its logo and provided about 20 seconds of background information along with an infograph that indicates accuracy for Suhr’s claims in the city reducing violent crime.

My only real complaint is most of the video itself is from the actual with interview with Suhr. There really isn’t a great deal of b-roll and most of the b-roll used where either static images (which based on what I saw, seem to be largely photos in the public domain and not taken by Reason itself) or immensely brief.

That being said, the story is effective in providing a narrative with a strong, well-spoken central character.

There was somewhat extensive use of music, but all of it was ambient and not really noticeable, with the only exception being the music that played during Reason’s brief introduction. I belief the somewhat heavy handed music that quickly played in the beginning was effective, as I went from being slightly zoned out to immediately attached to the story after hearing it.

Overall, it was a solid and effective piece, with my sole complaint being the lack of more entertaining and perhaps relevant b-roll. The strong central character makes this story best told with video, I just wish there was more.

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