- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2021

President Biden bumbled through another teleprompter speech yesterday, classifying America’s crime wave as a gun problem. Sorry, Mr. Biden, the skyrocketing homicide rates in U.S. cities have nothing to do with guns – it all stems from the progressive “defund the police” movement and leftist policies that allow hardened criminals loose on the streets.

New York City, where shooting incidents in May spiked 73% compared to the same period last year, has instituted some of the most liberal, progressive criminal justice reforms in the country. It became the first city in the nation to end qualified immunity – meaning New York City Police officers can now be sued by individuals for doing their job. 

Last year, New York state eliminated cash bail for almost all criminal offenses except for violent felonies, frustrating police officers who arrested individuals who were set free and then had to be rearrested again for other crimes. Tiffany Harris, a Brooklyn woman, who was released after allegedly hitting three Jewish women in an antisemitic attack, was arrested the next day accused of assaulting another woman.

New York City’s district attorneys have dismissed most of the city’s looting cases last year, after police officers made 118 arrests in the Bronx, after rioters pillaged stores at will, smashing storefront after storefront. According to the local NBC News since then, the “NYPD says the Bronx district attorney and the courts have dismissed most of these cases – 73 in all. Eighteen cases remain open and there have been 19 convictions for mostly lesser counts like trespassing, counts which carry no jail time.”

If there are no consequences to criminal action, why would one suspect that criminal actions would recede? This has nothing to do with guns.

Since last summer, 5,000 NYPD officers have retired or left the force, frustrated by these liberal policies. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shifted roughly $1 billion from the police department, amid progressive calls to defund the police. The mayor is now reversing track, vowing to spend coronavirus relief funds to rebuild the department. But the damage is done. Morale is at an all-time low. Crime is running rampant. It was the No.1 issue on New Yorkers’ minds as they voted in the Democratic primary, polls show.

In Los Angeles, where the city has seen a 22% spike in homicides, there’s a recall effort underway for its progressive district attorney, George Gascon, who has called for the early prison release of violent criminals, including those who have committed murder. 

“Already, in his first three months in office, prosecutors have sought roughly 8,000 fewer years in prison compared to the same period a year ago through eliminating many so-called enhancements — special circumstances such as the use of a gun in a crime, or gang affiliations or prior felonies under the `three strikes law,’ a pillar of an earlier era’s war on crime — that can add years to a sentence,” The New York Times wrote of Mr. Gascon’s progressive policies.

As a result, there are more criminals on the streets of Los Angeles – and it’s the criminals, not law-abiding gun owners – who commit the most violent offenses.

St. Louis, Chicago and Philadelphia – cities where crime-rates are soaring – have all elected progressive DA’s like Mr. Gascon. 

The root cause of America’s rising violence is enacting progressive so-called social-justice policies, such as bail reform, not prosecuting criminals, shorter sentencing, early release and not prosecuting juveniles as adults. It’s Democrats encouraging violent riots, championing the defund the police movement and posting bond for looters aligned with their cause. 

So, no, Mr. Biden. Spiking crime rates are not a gun problem. It’s a progressive policy problem.

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