We Can No Longer Ignore Rising Crime in America
Crime, especially violent crime, is rising at an alarming rate throughout the United States. It has been for months. This is not the “normal” spike in crime which happens every summer, either. It is not due to the pandemic, or to climate change . America is becoming a more lawless place, especially in our cities, and it is directly attributable to the continuing insistence by the progressive Left to undermine the authority of our police officers and strip them of the ability to do their jobs. For over a year now, criminals have been told by the Left that if they commit crimes, they would not be punished. And they have been telling the police that if they do their jobs and enforce the law, they will be punished. If we are going to fix the problem, we need to empower competent, professional policing, not discourage it. And more broadly, we need to continue to stand against the woke ideology of the progressive Left, whose only purpose is to erode the American people’s respect for our foundational institutions. It is not difficult to see the troubling direction in which we are headed. In the past year, 25 of our major cities have either made major cuts or proposed major cuts to their police department’s budget, despite the alarming rise in violent crime over the past year. In New York, shootings have increased 42.7 percent in the last year, while Mayor Bill de Blasio slashed the New York Police Department’s funding by $1 billion in June 2020. In Minneapolis, located in Rep. Ilhan Omar’s congressional district, there have been more shootings and homicides this year than there were by this point last year. Yet Rep. Omar advocates for the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department. In Chicago, the violence and crime has been staggering over the past year – during July 4th weekend, 104 people were shot, 13 of them children. Homicide rates in the city will likely mirror the historic and horrifying numbers the city reached last year. In Portland, Oregon, the police department’s budget was slashed. Shootings more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, and the number of shootings has remained on the historic pace set in 2020. We even saw activists and antifa thugs occupy a portion of the city, defying feckless government officials with impunity. Police officers face the impossible task of keeping people safe while the criminals they are trying to stop are routinely given lighter sentencing and allowed back into the communities they terrorize far too soon. Don’t take it from me, take it from Chicago’s police chief, who just said that too many criminals are being let back into society without being properly prosecuted or sentenced. Far from having a systemic over -incarceration problem, a line those on the progressive Left love to repeat, we actually have an under-incarceration problem – one that is being fueled by the foolish sort of thinking that could only be dreamed up inside the walls of a university, far from the real problems on the ground: that criminals are not really responsible for their actions, and that it is instead “society” who should bear the blame and the guilt for gang members and thugs who shoot children . We should treat violent criminals like criminals. Elected officials in our major cities, meanwhile, refuse to show overt support for their police officers or for more aggressive policing in dangerous, crime-ridden areas, lest they anger the woke mobs on Twitter. Thus, instead of actually dealing with the problem of rising shootings and violent crime properly, they blame it on “gun control,” as if law-abiding, gun-owning Americans are to blame. And to make matters even worse, these same officials haven’t allowed themselves to suffer from the cuts in policing they themselves have recently overseen: In 20 of the major cities in which police funding has been cut, mayors and other city officials routinely charge taxpayers millions of dollars a year so that they can continue to maintain their own private security details. They know the importance of decent security and good law enforcement, they just only care about having it when they are its beneficiaries. We should treat our law enforcement like heroes. Fortunately, the American people are not the fools that progressives think they are. They know that it takes good policing to reduce violent crime. They know it takes competent, professional police officers to confront violent criminals, not mental health experts. A glance at the New York City mayoral race showed just this: Progressive candidates advocating for cuts in police funding all finished near the bottom, while the winner was a former officer in the NYPD who campaigned on strengthening that institution and getting tough on crime. Crime isn’t a partisan issue – it affects all of us. All our families – regardless of party; urban, suburban, or rural – want to be safe and secure. When he was just 28 years old, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, confronting the lynching of a black man at the hands of a mob just a few weeks prior. His goal was not only to advocate strongly against such mob justice, but also to illustrate the importance of following the law and respecting it as a necessary institution. He said of the American people that “if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their possessions and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.” He was right, of course, and the current rise in crime we are seeing today is due to similar fundamental issues – mob mentality driven by a poisonous ideology, elected officials forsaking their duties in order to please that same mob instead of serving their people, and an American public growing more and more disaffected with those leaders every day as a result. If we are going to reverse this trend, we need to first start backing our police officers, while still holding certain officers to account within the established legal system if their conduct is inadequate, and especially when it is harmful to those they are supposed to be protecting. But more importantly, we need to address and repudiate the backwards progressive ideology which undermines our law enforcement and is designed to destroy America’s fundamental institutions. Support the work of the ACLJ , as we continue to bring you expert analysis on the issues that matter most.