Despite the contrary admonition, crime does pay, and it has never paid better than under the ruling left. Making crime not pay depends on deterrence, thus the war on law enforcement is having its predictable and inevitable effect. Excusing their actions as a pursuit of “justice,” leftist activists and mayors alike are inflicting growing injustice on American society.
San Francisco’s epidemic of organized theft from stores is the latest example of what happens when Democrat-run cities neuter police enforcement. The thefts are so blatant and widespread that they exceed traditional shoplifting, in which isolated items are surreptitiously stolen. These criminals are walking items out en masse and in broad daylight. Call it low-speed looting.
The wanton and widespread nature of these robberies has already caused targeted stores to limit their hours. Other stores are closing altogether. Speaking to a local television station, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz described a recent theft: “They didn’t even run out, they walked out. That’s sending a message that we, the criminals, are winning.”
These growing crimes are symptomatic of the lawlessness infecting areas controlled by people who want to abolish the police. In 2020, riots and looting were dubbed “protests” by leftist politicians and media. Unsurprisingly, in cities where unrest was celebrated, crime has become a way of life — and frequently death. Just fill in the blank for crimes that spiked after a summer of crime went largely unpunished: riots (Portland has been particularly noteworthy), looting, carjacking, shootings, and homicides.
In Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago, shootings are a daily occurrence. A computer search shows how nearly impossible it is to keep track of which shooting headline is attached to which day. Over one July weekend, a recap declared “73 people hit by gunfire” and “at least 11 died.” Over the long Independence Day weekend, “at least 95 people were shot” in Chicago. The Windy City is hardly alone. Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and sadly others could be added as well.
While nothing can match the level of urban shootings that have made many municipalities unsafe places to live, there have been surges of lower-level lawlessness as well, in tandem with the homeless encampments that are taking over many cities.
The best way to stop rampant crime is law and order. Only enforcement of both raises the cost of crime above its return. Recognizing this, society sets penalties progressively higher for crimes it deems more serious and therefore wants to deter more. As the left strips away those deterrents, crime’s return grows and — because criminals are economic maximizers too — the crime’s incidence grows with it.
While the crimes may run the gamut of offenses, the locales are almost completely entrenched on the left of the political spectrum. The crime explosions in Democrat-controlled jurisdictions reflect the left’s broader rejection of traditional authority.
To proponents of leftist doctrines like critical race theory, today’s society is based on oppression. Therefore, attempts to enforce society’s laws are one manifestation of this oppression, so enforcement is the first thing these radicals want expunged. Into the vacuum, of course, comes crime in all its forms.
The dynamic that has led to crime surges in Democrat-controlled cities is also replicated along America’s southern border. Before they called for defunding the police, leftists were screaming for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). What was once an empty mantra has become today’s policy. The result is a virtually open border and a crisis of unchecked illegal immigration.
The increase of crime on the left’s watch is not coincidental, it is causal. The war on law enforcement also carries a dynamic for acceleration. Just as penalties are more severe for more serious offenses, once enforcement is removed the dynamic runs the other way: There is a larger return for greater lawbreaking. The result of anti-law enforcement action is both more crime and worse crime.
Leftist agitators have decreased law enforcement in many cities where they hold the power to do so, and crime has surged in areas under their control. They have cloaked their actions by describing them as “justice” movements, but this is simply their latest way to advance their old agenda: shifting power to themselves. In the meantime, they are shifting crime to the rest of us.