I’ve been fielding comments from a number of my law enforcement contacts about the deteriorating situation on the streets of America’s cities. Without exception, they report greater crime, more violence, less safety and security for “regular” citizens and residents.
The Wall Street Journal describes the reasons.
The year 2020 likely saw the largest percentage increase in homicides in American history. Murder was up nearly 37% in a sample of 57 large and medium-size cities. Based on preliminary estimates, at least 2,000 more Americans, most of them black, were killed in 2020 than in 2019. Mainstream media and many politicians claim the pandemic caused this bloodbath, but the chronology doesn’t support that assertion. And now the criminal-justice policies supported by President Biden promise to exacerbate the current crime wave, while ignoring its actual causes.
. . .
Eighteen people were murdered in Chicago on May 31—the city’s most violent day in six decades, according to University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell. Other American cities saw similar spikes in mayhem, all tied to the street violence unleashed by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. The political and media response to Floyd’s death amplified the existing narrative that policing was lethally racist. The ensuing riots received little condemnation from Democratic leaders and a weak response from the criminal-justice system.
Cops now face a poisonous environment. Since the summer, they have been shot in the head, firebombed and assaulted with lethal projectiles. An officer providing first aid at a crime scene may be met with a hail of rocks and bottles. Resistance is now the norm. Officers believe they face a political and legal environment that is eager to sacrifice them in the name of racial justice.
As a result, the calculus for engagement has changed. An Oakland, Calif., officer who has arrested dozens of known murderers and gang members over his career tells me he is scared for the first time, “not because the criminals are necessarily more violent, even though they are.” But if he has to use force on a resisting suspect, he could lose his career, his life, or his liberty, he says. A “simple cost-benefit analysis” recommends simply responding to calls for service and collecting a paycheck. “All cops now understand this.”
“Every day you have to decide whether to get out of your patrol car and do something or do nothing,” a veteran Chicago detective reports. If you opt for real police work, you may end up in jail or without a job if an interaction goes off script.
“Proactive police work is dead,” says Lt. Bob Kroll of the Minneapolis Police Department. The data bear him out. In Minneapolis, police stops fell more than 50% over the summer. The number of police-civilian contacts plummeted in Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Across the country, specialized police units that got guns off the street were disbanded, since they were said to have a disparate impact on African-Americans. Police chiefs and prosecutors have refused to enforce low-level quality-of-life laws for the same reason.
The consequence: More gang members are carrying guns, since their chances of being stopped are slim. They are enthusiastically killing each other and innocent bystanders out of opportunism, not economic deprivation or existential angst.
The anarchy of 2020 has continued into 2021. Shootings in South Los Angeles rose 742% in the first two weeks of the year. In Oakland, homicides were up 500% and shootings up 126% through Jan. 17. In New York, murders were up 42% and shooting victims up 15% through Jan. 17. Carjackings, already up 135% in Chicago in 2020, are spilling into the city’s suburbs. On Jan. 16, a woman was pulled from her car in Aurora, Ill., and shot in the back by carjackers who had already stolen two vehicles earlier that day. Four other Chicago suburbs were hit that weekend. In Chicago proper, there have been 144 carjackings through Jan. 21, with 166 guns recovered.
There’s more at the link.
There’s clear evidence that police were ordered by their political bosses to pull back and not maintain law and order during the riots of the past year or so. For example, “Minneapolis police officers testified they could have done more to protect the city if local officials hadn’t tied their hands“. The same pattern was visible in many more cities.
For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. In New York City and Washington, D.C., on Monday night, police stood by as looters destroyed parts of those cities.
The same politicians who ordered police to stand down and released prison inmates are the same people who want to ban guns. These politicians prevent citizens from protecting themselves, at a time when police protection cannot be depended on.
. . .
Across the country, police have had orders to stand down.
“Tonight, I watched Seattle burn. Seattle is dying, by fire, looting, weakness of the political leadership,” wrote Seattle KVI radio talk-show host Kirby Wilbur. “We watched on TV as our law enforcement stood by while vandalism, looting, assaults, pure chaos reigned in the streets of our downtown business district.”
Again, more at the link.
As a result of this nonsense, a great many police officers are either resigning and seeking employment in less politically correct departments, or taking early retirement. It’s a pattern visible in many cities. The residents of those areas are going to find their situation deteriorating even further, because there’ll be fewer police available to uphold what law and order still exists there.
I said last year that “I fear vigilantism and ‘lynch law‘ are about to make a comeback, because in the absence of the even-handed, objective rule of law, there’s little alternative”. There have already been incidents reported in several US cities that, I’m told, appear to fit that pattern – although the authorities have carefully said nothing in public about that. Nevertheless, my police contacts in those cities are less hesitant to draw conclusions among themselves. The term “public service homicide” has been used more than once.
Friends, if you live in a city where crime and violence have spiked over the last year or so, please consider moving to a safer environment if that’s possible. This situation isn’t going away, and is likely to get much worse before (if!) it gets better.