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Op-Ed: Democrats Encourage Crime Through Soft Policies

File photo: Ron Adar, Shutter Stock, licensed.
An protester confronts NYPD Police Officers on October 25, 2020 in New York City. File photo: Ron Adar, Shutter Stock, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY  – Crime in America is dominating the headlines and airwaves – but only if you follow conservative news outlets. Liberal media outlets conveniently bury America’s rising crime problem and a lot of it has to do with with Democrats and their soft approach to crime. The United States criminal justice system has a problem and Democrats are making it worse. Democrats have earned a reputation for being soft on crime and its effects are being felt across America.

According to a recent Fox News poll, Republicans hold a 15-point advantage over Democrats on handling crime, with 54% of registered voters saying they trust Republicans more on the issue while 39% say they trust Democrats more.

Over the last few decades, plenty of research has gone into why crime rates in America are where they are. There are a number of factors that may contribute to high levels of crime in the US.

Research has shown that there is a relationship between poverty and crime as people who live in poverty may be more likely to turn to crime as a way to make ends meet or to support their families. High levels of unemployment may lead to crime, as people who are out of work may turn to illegal activities as a way to make money. The illegal drug trade can contribute to crime, as people may turn to crime to support their drug habits or to sell drugs to make money. A weak criminal justice system perceived as weak or ineffective may discourage people from following the law and may lead to an increase in crime. People who lack access to education and opportunities may be more likely to turn to crime as a way to make a living. Crime can also be influenced by social and cultural factors, such as the level of cohesion in a community and the values and norms that are upheld within it. Finally, the high number of firearms in the United States may contribute to the level of crime, as guns can be used to commit violent crimes.

But while these are some reasons why crime might exist, it doesn’t explain why criminals appear to believe they are untouchable. A glance at crime in New York City and the high rate of looting and theft there suggests that criminals do not fear the criminal justice system as they realize it is a revolving door. Even if they manage to get arrested, which is difficult to do now that police are instructed to ignore many “low-level” crimes, they often end up being released back onto the streets where they return to crime.

There are a variety of reasons why some politicians and law enforcement officials might be perceived as soft on crime and it seems some of them don’t care enough to make any effort to even hide or remove this perception – perhaps even wearing it as a badge of pride or honor.

These politicians believe that the criminal justice system should focus more on rehabilitation and help offenders to turn their lives around, rather than punishment. This means they advocate for policies that are seen as being more lenient on crime.

There is a growing awareness in the United States that the country has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Some politicians may be concerned about the impact of mass incarceration on communities and advocate for policies that are designed to reduce the number of people in prison.

In some, if not most cases, politicians may be more lenient on crime because they believe it will be popular with their constituents or because they are trying to appeal to certain voter groups.

Some politicians may simply have personal beliefs that lead them to take a softer stance on crime, believing that the criminal justice system is overly punitive or that it disproportionately affects certain groups of people.

Let’s look at New York.

With 149 children shot and 16 dead in 2022, it is difficult to say New York does not have a crime problem. It is also difficult not to blame Democrat leadership. New York Governor Kathy Hochul in 2021 ordered the release of 191 inmates – a number of whom already had parole violations on their record. Recidivist rates tend to trend upward so releasing known criminals is probably not a good idea.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has not helped the situation and New Yorkers should be furious. A Progressive, Bragg was elected on promises to be soft on crime by downgrading charges and not seeking strict sentences, and he appears to be holding to his promise. The thinking by Bragg and Hochul is that going easy on criminals will reduce crime.

But the New York Police Department (NYPD) has worked hard to keep criminals off the streets and this has proven successful. “For the month of October 2022, the number of overall shooting incidents decreased in New York City compared with October 2021. Citywide shooting incidents decreased by 33.6% (85 v. 128), driven by significant declines in the Bronx, Brooklyn, northern Manhattan, and Queens. The decreases in gun violence across the city reflect the NYPD’s ongoing work to deploy officers to neighborhoods, public housing areas, and transit stations.”

The NYPD also notes that the overall index crime in New York City “increased in October 2022, by 5.9% compared with October 2021, driven largely by a 19.3% increase in grand larceny auto, a 9.6% increase in grand larceny, and a 8.9% increase (1,388 v. 1,274) in burglary.”

Thus it is the NYPD’s presence in New York, and other police forces in their own cities across the country, that keep crime rates low – not Democrat policies. It is time to get tough on crime.

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