February 24, 2022
Center for Law and Justice
True Equality is Enforcing Law and Order
February 24, 2022
Many have heard of the “broken windows theory,” which states that visible signs of crime and civil disorder create an urban environment that fosters greater crime and disorder. The theory is not complicated. If a government cannot prevent minor crimes like graffiti or broken windows, how can it begin to tackle and solve serious crimes, such as rape or murder? This is but one of the common-sense policies that Rudy Giuliani ran on, successfully becoming Mayor of New York City. He followed through with his promise to enact public order campaigns, and crime plummeted. Decades later, these successful policies have been reversed and replaced with policing “reform” that encourages criminality under the false notion of pursuing racial equity (not to be mistaken with equality). The result has been a skyrocketing murder rate and national crime spree — including many more Black victims of crime.
Urban decay and crime were serious problems leading up to the twenty-first century. Fighting that epidemic was at the heart of Giuliani’s campaign. One of his campaign slogans read, “one city, one standard,” meaning that everyone would be held to the same standard no matter who you are or what neighborhood you live in. All citizens must be accountable to justice, and there is no need for race or ethnicity to enter the picture when upholding the law. New York City cracked down on petty crimes like subway fare evasion, which at the time was seeing 170,000 turnstile jumpers a day. The result was a sharp decline in felonies—about a 200% drop from 1990 to 1996.
The inverse of pursuing justice for petty crimes that lead to bigger ones is now in vogue, in an illegitimate and uninformed politically driven effort to decrease the number of incarcerated Black Americans. Jim Quinn, a former Executive District Attorney in the Queens District Attorney’s office, postulates that in “aiming for racial equity in criminal justice rather than focusing solely on deterring and responding to crime, policymakers seem to have neglected the foundational purpose of law and order.”
Because of this short-sighted and race-based approach to crime, shootings have increased by 104% from 2019 to 2021, car thefts by 91%, and murders have climbed 52%. Black New Yorkers were the victims of 65% of those murders and 75% of those shootings. Clearly, this race-based, politically motivated approach to crime is causing deaths and injuries of many more Blacks.
Fostering this sharp jump in crime was Mayor Bill de Blasio, who championed policies of jailbreak during his time in office. He was doing so in 2017 but then specifically utilized COVID-19 as an excuse to set loose thousands of inmates onto New York’s streets. Fifty of the first 1500 released were shortly rearrested. One such example was a serial rapist. That and other crimes simply should not have happened. These soft-on-crime, race-based policies have been replicated across the country in “progressive” states and cities by progressive politicians and prosecutors. As expected, 12 such major cities broke their annual homicide records. Many such cities that moved to defund their police have been forced to reverse course after unleashing waves of crime onto their communities.
It is tragic and shameful that the progressive Left seems always to hurt those they claim to help. These past few years, racial divisions have been inflamed by the progressive Left to secure a voting bloc further.
The result has been a surge in murder not seen since the start of national record-keeping in 1960. Much of this can be attributed to a decline in policing, also known as the “Minneapolis Effect,” following the death of George Floyd. In Minneapolis itself, traffic stops declined by 74%, and patrols in high crime areas decreased by 76%. One officer declared that police are taking longer routes to respond to 911 calls because they are hoping to avoid whatever it is they’re being called about. In 2020, the share of Black homicide offenders reached 56.5%. Each week, there are shootings in Chicago, where gang members outnumber cops nearly 10 to 1. When burning down cities in the name of “racial justice” is considered “mostly peaceful” by mainstream media outlets, which work hand in hand with the Democratic Party, and assassinations of police officers go under the radar—are these results surprising? This is not what Black Americans want—in fact, polls show a desire for more time for police to spend in their communities than White Americans hope for.
The Left’s nationally and locally implemented policies have had a devastating effect on Black America. Consider too Biden’s recent effort to treat drug addiction by sending crack pipes into Black communities. Biden should remember that he once co-chaired the Senate Narcotics Caucus. Blacks were devastated by crack cocaine more than 3 decades ago and demanded politicians take action to stop the havoc it was causing in their communities. A young college basketball player by the name of Len Bias, expected to be a star player for the Boston Celtics, died from a cocaine overdose in 1986, shocking the Nation and prompting a crackdown on crack cocaine in Black communities.
There are real consequences to phony efforts at compassion and pro-criminal, soft-on-crime policies, as the recent data from New York City demonstrates. Enforcement of strict law and order policies has driven crime down before and can do so again. All Americans deserve to live in safe communities and be free from failed policies that let criminals roam freely, rather than fed destructive lies by the Democratic Party and their lackeys in the mainstream media.
Troup Hemenway serves as Senior Advisor, American Leadership Initiative, America First Policy Institute (AFPI).
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