RUSOVICH: Whose Fault Is Our National Crime Wave?

Carnage and violent crime in large American cities are spiking; cops are resigning in record numbers; violent criminals are coddled by ultra-progressive district attorneys and judges; and victims are forgotten. Many low-income, struggling neighborhoods are under siege. Does the political ruling class care? Which policies and actions caused this mayhem?

Following the George Floyd murder, the mainstream media joined ultra- progressives and contrived a dangerous narrative that police were racist, and therefore, needed to be defunded. Professional sports, entertainment and corporate elites joined in on the distorted chorus. Rather than focusing on a constructive review of police practices, they instead chose provocation and rage which overshadowed any hope of a resolution. Law enforcement was instead mocked, and lawlessness ignored. The result?

FBI statistics show that homicides jumped by nearly 30% last year compared with 2019, from 16,669 to 21,570 deaths. This increase was the biggest one-year jump in 60 years. And the murder rate continues to grow. The Washington Times reported this past week that the Council on Criminal Justice data shows that the number of homicides in 22 cities was an additional 4% higher during the first nine months of this year than in the same period in 2020 and 36% higher than in 2019.

Closer to home in New Orleans, the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) reports that homicides are up 83% from 2019 to 2021 (as of November 14). Despite appeals from business and civic crime-fighting leaders and popular support in the city for more cops and broader use of technology to help law enforcement, a lack of responsiveness from political leaders prevails. The New Orleans Crime Coalition, a diverse group of 20 civic and business organizations, released a recent survey showing 90% of those surveyed wanted more police manpower while and 88% supported greater use of computer analytics and other technologies to help solve crimes. Are policymakers paying any attention?

The City Council passed an Ordinance in December 2020, authored by current New Orleans District Attorney, Jason Williams, which greatly restricts police officers use of multiple crime-fighting technologies, while the current NOPD manpower is at historic lows of 1,000 sworn officers. By contrast, in 2019 there were 1,226 on our streets. In 2010 there were 1,525. With this hemorrhaging of police, there are still no consequential funds allocated for recruitment or retention. As a direct result, violent crime has soared to over 100% since 2019. A sense of urgency, action, and funding is desperately needed to address these shocking statistics.

Meanwhile, the MCC also reports that with help from surviving victims and witnesses, the NOPD made 1,411 violent felony arrests from January 11-September 10, 2021. Astoundingly, the District Attorney’s office either refused or dismissed 937 violent felony cases during that time. Officers are repeatedly arresting many of the same suspects which adversely affects police morale. NOPD Superintendent Ferguson described his officers’ understandable frustration during City Council testimony last week, “They have been demoralized. When the arrested subject tells them ‘I will be out before you get off,’ that sends a message to the officer and they begin to question themselves, ‘Why am I out here?’” Violent criminals are emboldened, police officers demoralized and short-handed … and innocent victims terrorized.

The death rates and injuries don’t appear to deter radical progressives such as George Soros and New York City’s Black Lives Matter agitators. Soros funnels cash to radical district attorneys and judicial candidates, as well as to police defunding efforts nationwide. Soros isn’t bothered by the carnage. In fact, the reality quite the opposite. It’s an integral part of his game plan that attempts to establish control and the perpetuity of power for he and his elitist allies. Black Lives Matter leader, Hawk Newsome warns New York’s mayor-elect, Eric Adams of additional violence with ‘riots…fire…and bloodshed’ across the city should Adams deliver on a campaign promise to revive the highly effective crimefighting Anti-Crime Unit.

In a recent article published in the Daily Mail, Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The War on Cops,” provided insightful facts on the previous dismantling of the Anti-Crime Unit by failed Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermott Shea. “The now-defunct Anti-Crime Unit was one of the last entities within NYPD to forthrightly practice proactive policing. Its members were tasked with spotting and intervening in suspicious behavior in gang-plagued neighborhoods before that behavior ripened into a full fledge crime”, asserts Mac Donald. The deadly results from the disbanding were immediate as MacDonald reports, “Shootings jumped 205% in the two subsequent weeks, from 38 incidents over that timespan in 2019 to 116 incidents in 2020. Gunshot injuries rose 238%. June 2020 became the most violent month in terms of gunfire in 24 years…gangbangers knew that their chances of getting stopped with a gun had dropped enormously.”

There is significant national data highlighted by Harvard economist Roland Fryer and supported by researchers at the University of Maryland and Michigan State University, demonstrating that when police activity is curtailed, crime goes up. Deploying enough officers using smart, proactive and community policing strategies in threatened neighborhoods protects innocent people and builds trust between cops and communities.

So, let’s summarize.

The far left appropriates a tragic murder and rallies its minions to demean law enforcement, adopt policies that hobble police, then pours funding into electing anti-law enforcement district attorneys and judges that ensure carnage, primarily in poor neighborhoods. The solution to this is quite simple. Prioritize and significantly increase funding for police recruitment and retention efforts; ensure violent criminals have consequences for their actions; support public-private nonprofit efforts to nurture at-risk youth; and expose the true intentions of the radical left.

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