The Democrats have read the polling tea leaves and started to creakily pivot away from the mostly peaceful riots.
But they’re missing the point.
Sure images of Kenosha were bad, but this wasn’t BLM’s first riot rodeo. Some people are reacting to Kenosha and a tipping point may have been reached, but the bigger story is the rise in shootings and robberies that are related to the riots, but also distinct from them. The Pew poll which freaked out so many Democrats noted that “violent crime” was the fifth biggest concern.
There are a number of interrelated factors driving the crime increase.
1. The pandemic jailbreaks freed many criminals from prison and many criminals are being released as soon as they’re arrested.
Here’s an outrageous, but by no means unusual, example.
A Los Angeles man is facing a slew of felony charges for stealing cars almost as soon as he was released from jail due to the coronavirus pandemic, over and over again, according to prosecutors. On a single day in May, he was arrested twice.
Prosecutors allege Jose Enrique Esquivel stole over a dozen cars between March and June. Esquivel was first arrested on March 30, but released the same day as per the COVID-19 emergency bail schedule. He was again arrested and released on 11 separate occasions between April 28 and June 15, including twice on May 14. He was most recently taken into custody on June 23 for allegedly stealing another truck, but kept in jail because the emergency release fund had ended.
There’s a microcosm of the crime wave here.
2. Criminal justice reform
From freeing criminals already imprisoned to ending bail, the net effect of these various measures, many supported by Republicans, was to put massive amounts of criminals on the street.
Where do you think these professional looters were coming from? Prison.
3. The lockdown
As I previously documented, commercial burglaries had shot up in cities across the country even well before the riots and anyone had heard of George Floyd. A lot of businesses were as badly devastated by these commercial burglaries as by the more official riots. And the insurance rates are going to reflect all that.
4. The BLM Effect
The popularity of Black Lives Matter and the immediate crackdown on police officers accused of doing anything led to the latest incarnation of the Ferguson Effect multiplied a thousand times. The cops are pulling back, elected officials don’t want them fighting crime, and the criminals are emboldened.
The riots are definitely a factor in driving violent crime, but their root causes are the embrace of “criminal justice reform” which dismissed victims while embracing criminals.
We’re now relearning at high speed what we had already learned in the 70s and 80s (and if you think it isn’t us, the GOP still keeps running on criminal justice reform and polls show continued support among Republicans for BLM, and plenty of conservatives will tweet at me that George Floyd was murdered), about what happens when you champion criminals.
But the Democrats pivoting away from the riots won’t fix the core concern which is the escalation of violence and crime.
That’s not getting put back in the box with a few speeches and some editorials, as Democrats are proposing to do. People are fleeing cities and urban areas have become war zones.
We can put that back in the box but it would require a crackdown on crime. And that might require a whole lot more learning when both parties are still bashing the moderate and comparative weak 1994 crime bill.
We know what works and it’s what the pro-crime lobby that has its knee on the throat of this country hates.
1. Locking up career criminals and keeping them locked up.
2. Flooding high-crime areas with cops doing broken windows policing
3. Turning around areas by increasing property values, bringing in businesses, and gentrifying them.
Democrats and many Republicans have been running against 1, are mixed, at best, on 2, and might be somewhat more open to 3., but it doesn’t work without 1 and 2.
It’s a lot easier to break a community or a country, a lot easier to empower criminals, than it is to fight crime, and it will take real will and commitment to relearning what works and actually implementing it, no matter how much the leftists and some of their libertarians pro-crime allies shriek.