Leftist policies that demonize police a factor in rising violent crime
President Biden will visit the Queen City Wednesday for a CNN-sponsored town hall. Topics are expected to include infrastructure and COVID-19 – but I hope someone raises the question of violent crime during his visit.
Violent crime is surging in America’s big cities, from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Cincinnati had a record number of homicides in 2020. And, just last month, The Enquirer reported that the average number of shootings each month in 2020 and so far in 2021 shows a 31% increase over 2018 and 2019.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley laughably tried to blame the record homicides last year on the early closing of bars during the pandemic – as though drunks with guns are careful to wait until they’ve left a bar before shooting anyone. Those of us in law enforcement think the violence has a lot more to do with leftist policies that demonize cops and limit proactive, targeted policing – and someone should use the CNN forum to ask Joe Biden about it.
Although the left has scurried away from the wreckage of its 2020 “Defund the Police” campaign, it’s more concerned about spin than substance. Now, the left talks about “redirecting” funding from police to other functions. When asked on July 8, 2020, if he agreed with redirecting funding, Biden replied “absolutely.”
The president, in the custom of many politicians, has said many things over time, and today denies that he supports defunding the police. But President Biden’s appointed law enforcement leaders have dangerous views as it relates to the safety of our communities.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said officials must heed calls to “decrease police budgets and the scope, role and responsibility of police in our lives.”
As mayor of Boston, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh actually proposed a budget to divert funding from law enforcement.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke supported efforts to “defund the police” in a Newsweek op-ed piece where she wrote three separate times that we need to spend less on police.
The vast majority of Americans oppose the “defund” campaign – for good reason. In places where it’s tried, it has a devastating effect. Portland’s homicides are up more than 500%. In San Francisco, where the progressive district attorney has made clear he doesn’t want to prosecute retail theft cases, theft is rampant, and small shops are closing their doors. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Walgreens has closed 17 stores in the Bay area due to a theft rate that is four times its national average.
I talk every day with officers on the job who feel demonized by the talk coming from Democratic Party leaders. And the anti-police rhetoric from leaders is changing the attitudes of their neighbors.
One officer, who works in a jurisdiction that allows him to take his police cruiser home, used to proudly park it in his driveway. It was a bit of a perk for the community, too: a would-be burglar cruising a neighborhood keeps driving when he sees a cop car. For the first time in his career, he’s parking it in the garage and closing the door. He doesn’t want to make his family a target.
He’ll leave the job soon. Police officers are leaving the profession in droves, at the same time crime is skyrocketing. It’s not a good direction.
President Biden could help change that narrative by speaking up for the men and women who protect us. Maybe someone will ask him about it in Cincinnati.
David Yost is the Attorney General of Ohio