Fewer police has meant more violent crime. Does the defund movement really know what it’s doing?
“A rising crime rate is always a practical challenge,” William Galston, a former Clinton White House policy advisor, recently told the Hill. “I don’t think anyone would have predicted six months ago how central it would become to the New York mayoral race.”
“Along with immigration, it’s not a problem the administration can ignore, especially in a midterm election,” Galston concluded.
He urged the Democratic Party not to overreact, but not to under-react, either.
Casting it as a Republican talking point is only going to go so far as the crime wave continues with no signs of stopping- no matter how much interference media outlets are willing to do on behalf of Democratic candidates.
No amount of spin can hide the fact that a handful of major U.S. cities have seen a serious uptick in violent crime, for example Portland’s 800% increase.
The Biden White House plans to meet the crisis head-on, with insiders predicting a major push for gun control. Whether that push will be successful after a such a banner year in gun sales, with first-time gun buyers acquiring firearms at an unprecedented rate, is a matter of debate.
“It’s an opportunity for the president to speak to what he’s going to do to help address that,” responded White House press secretary Jen Psaki to questions about the violent crime surge. “And as we’ve seen around the country, it’s a concern of many Americans. Republicans, but also Democrats, too. Not necessarily through a partisan lens.”
Psaki has a point. In many large cities where violent crime is skyrocketing, like Chicago, it is Democrats who are leading the community charge against embattled Democratic leadership.
By the time primetime primary season rolls around, no amount of media complicity and solidarity with Democratic Party causes is going to stop Democratic politicians in these areas from seeking to unseat current leadership.
There is simply too much opportunity when the currently-elected leadership has failed so badly to protect citizens from violent crime. Violent crime makes voters more conservative; violent crime turns voters into single-issue voters. Neither of which is good for the Democratic Party long-term.
Citizens are also more than merely voters; they are taxpayers. When areas become unsafe, and tourists are stabbed to death in broad daylight, those with the means to do so leave, and take their tax-paying potential with them.
Looking to future growth, will anyone want to start a business in or relocate to a city where this headline ran in April of 2021: “40,000 homicides: Retracing 63 years of murder in Chicago,”?
“Chicago saw a homicide total lower in 2020 of 770, a tragic jump over the 496 from 2019. The spike in violent crime that has plagued Chicago since 2016 has even more gravity when viewed in comparison with six decades of homicides in Chicago,” is how the authors began their grim undertaking.
There is a major disagreement on the left about how to handle this spike in violent crime on the Democratic Party’s watch.
A.) If such reporting is likely to hurt Democratic Party chances in November, such reporting shouldn’t take place. Or;
B.) If it’s happening, refusing to report about it might not help Democratic Party chances in November, either.
To prevent Donald Trump, or someone like him, from attaining office, media outlets have made the commitment, for better or worse, to help Democratic politicians get elected. It has been a devil’s bargain which has caused, and continues to cause, quite a rift in the world of journalism.
Some, like Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and Bari Weiss have refused to accept the media’s wholesale relegation to uncritical Democratic Party propaganda machine. For some on the left, Donald Trump remains the greatest threat this country has ever faced. For others on the left, like Greenwald, the media’s credibility crisis is a bigger one.
There are also plenty of devil’s advocates on the left all of the sudden on the subject of this spike in violent crime, now that it has become undeniable.
Correlation does not equal causation, they argue. Just because the intense progressive push against the police, policing, and the legal system, has coincided with this rise in violent crime, doesn’t mean it caused, or even contributed to it in any way.
These contrarians blame COVID-19 for the spike in crime; they blame the murder of George Floyd in May.
A look at the bigger picture tells another story.
Nationwide we all experienced COVID-19, including lock-downs, shut-downs and lay-offs; the spike in crime has been confined to a handful large cities under Democratic leadership who have adopted certain anti-police policies and have been completely open about their plan to adopt more.
Nationwide protests, some of them violent, erupted over the death of George Floyd. Over a year later, the rise in criminal behavior, some of it organized, which endures in certain areas dominated by progressive policies has little or nothing to do with Floyd’s death, or police brutality.
Criminals and criminal gangs in these areas have merely used the larger social unrest as a cover and capitalized on the prevailing attitudes demonizing police to commit crimes.
The police take a different view on the cause of the rise in violent crime as well.
“Morale is as bad as it’s ever been before,” Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner told NBC Nightly News this week.
“We’re dealing with rioting at a level and sustained violence that we’ve never seen before, we’re looking at violence in our city, gun violence in our city, like we’ve never seen before,” he said. “We’re looking at the most catastrophic staffing levels that we’ve ever seen before; we’re looking at budget cuts to defund us at levels never seen before.”
Soon, those who are left in areas husked out by this sharp rise in violent crime will find themselves unable to access basic services. Commercial insurance rates in some newly crime-ridden areas, like downtown Minneapolis, are already astronomically high.
If a policy can be underwritten at all.
Corporate retailers will rush to cut their losses, as they already have in San Francisco. After city leadership recently voted to decriminalize shoplifting incidents under $1,000, there has been a major increase in theft. As a result, retailers have responded by closing stores in the afflicted areas.
Before long, Amazon Prime trucks will be the only merchants still servicing these blighted areas. When Amazon trucks start getting robbed, and the areas become no-go zones, perhaps Democratic politicians pushing “defund the police” messages will finally reconsider the real-world merits of the idea.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)