Category: Policy

After a While, the Evidence Is Too Much To Ignore

When Vox and NYU, of all places, finally see that policing is the solution and not the problem, you know that our violent crime epidemic has gone over the cliff.

From this article in Vox:

Last year, the US’s murder rate spiked by almost 30 percent. So far in 2021, murders are up nearly 10 percent in major cities. The 2020 increase alone is the largest percentage increase ever recorded in America — and a reversal from overall declines in murder rates since the 1990s.

American policymakers now want answers on this surge. One approach has good evidence behind it: the police.

There is solid evidence that more police officers and certain policing strategies reduce crime and violence. In a recent survey of criminal justice experts, a majority said increasing police budgets would improve public safety. The evidence is especially strong for strategies that home in on very specific problems, individuals, or groups that are causing a lot of crime or violence — approaches that would require restructuring how many police departments work today.

I don’t agree with everything in the article  —  far from it  —  but it’s instructive that our national murder crisis has come to this point.  At some stage, reality does intrude, even in the citadels of liberalism.

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Lenient Release Policies Get an Eight Year-Old Killed

You don’t need to look far to see the foreseeably gruesome results of criminal justice “reform” policies.  Among the favorites for “reformers” are an end to cash bail, probation instead of jail, and revocation hearings, if any, that are understanding for “technical” violations.

All three policies were at work in the latest child murder in Prince George’s County, Maryland, just across the Potomac River from where I live.

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Police Blame Defund Movement for Oakland Bloodbath

Oakland, CA on Monday, September 13, 2021, was a “bloodbath” according to Sgt. Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association. Homicides in Oakland increased from 67 by September 2020 to at least 93 by September 2021, which amounts to a 38.8% increase.   “This devastating violence is brought to you by the majority of Oakland’s City Council that defunded the police that discounts the plight of Oakland’s victims of violent crime, and hide behind their zoom screens, ignoring the decade-high violent crime occurring on city streets,” said Donelan.

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Dubious CJCJ Report Claims that Republican Counties Suffer from More Violent Crime

California, like the rest of the country, suffered a major increase in homicide in 2020. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) has released a report by Mike Males that presents differences between Republican- and Democratic-voting counties (identified by majority voting Democrat in 2020) in terms of homicide rates. He argues that Republican counties tend to have higher homicide rates, stating that: “the clearest difference between areas that have cut crime substantially and those suffering the worst crime trends and rates is not geographic nor demographic, but how they vote – Republican versus Democratic.” However, this report ignores a number of important variables that could be obscuring this finding. Namely, Republican-voting counties tend to be more rural, suburban, and overall have a lower median income when compared with Democratic-voting counterparts, all of which could also impact homicide rates. The classic phrase to remember here is: “correlation does not equal causation.”

It is perplexing why a researcher would compare two groups that are vastly different from each other without attempting to control for outside factors that might differ between groups, such as geography or population size. As a result, the groups are not entirely comparable because they are not similar enough; in this situation researchers would need to apply adequate statistical controls to account for these differences, something that is missing from this analysis. Ideally, a well-conducted study would attempt to control for all factors that differ between counties, except for the political affiliation, i.e., the main variable of interest. Continue reading . . .

Crime and Homelessness Driving Out San Francisco Residents

Mark Calvey of The San Francisco Business Times has this story discussing a survey of City residents measuring their overall concerns about their environment. The article states the following:

Amid sharply rising concerns about crime and quality-of-life issues, 44% of respondents to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s annual CityBeat poll say they intend to leave the city in the next few years. The CityBeat survey found that homelessness and “street behavior” is a top concern for 65% of respondents, with crime and open-air drug-dealing a top concern for 46%. Longstanding problems facing San Francisco residents — housing affordability and cost of living — were far behind, cited as top concerns by 19% and 10%, respectively. 

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Using Prosecutorial Discretion to Negate Law

In a City Journal article former District Attorney Thomas Hogan notes that progressive DAs are abusing their discretion to set countywide policies to prevent the enforcement of laws enacted to discourage and punish crime.

Baltimore is not prosecuting shoplifting or drug-possession crimes. Despite recent violent protests and occupations, St. Louis is not pursuing cases for looting and rioting, while Portland isn’t pursuing charges for trespassing. Philadelphia won’t allow prostitution charges. San Francisco is not prosecuting indecent exposure offenses. Chicago declines arrests for thefts of less than $1,000.

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California’s Crime Rates Reflect Dangerous State Policies

Katy Grimes of the California Globe has this story discussing what is making California’s cities more dangerous with recent data on crime rates.  Grimes mentions a few of the propositions that have impacted crime over the last decade. 

Proposition 47 largely decriminalized theft and drug crimes by reducing those crimes and a number of other “non-violent” felonies to misdemeanors; Prop. 57 allows early release for “non-violent offenders,” including rape by intoxication of an unconscious person, human trafficking involving a sex act with minors, arson causing great bodily harm, drive-by shooting, assault with a deadly weapon, and hostage taking. 

However, there is one bill that was not highlighted.  AB 109 signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 which allowed for the release approximately 30,000 felons from state prison with most going on probation rather than parole. This bill removed the option of prison sentences for crimes such as auto theft, drug felonies and domestic violence and replaced it with county jail time or rehabilitation services. 

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Gascón’s Directive Releases Dangerous Criminals on Probation

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s Special Directive 20-08,  forbids the deputies working for him from applying sentencing enhancements to charges against criminals, even for violent crimes. As reported by Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) President Michele Hanisee today:

Nearly all…crimes are probation eligible. Murder is probation eligible. Carjacking is probation eligible. Kidnapping is probation eligible. What typically causes a crime to be ineligible for probation is the addition of a sentencing enhancement, for example, use of a deadly weapon or infliction of great bodily injury. But since filing all but a handful of sentencing enhancements is prohibited, nearly every crime remains probation eligible. Thus – even for murder – the presumptive offer for those roughly 95,000 plus cases for which plea bargains are offered must be probation absent “extraordinary circumstances.”

The directive does not define what qualifies as “extraordinary circumstances.” What does that mean in the context of a murder case, or a carjacking case? But by definition, “extraordinary circumstances” will be a rare exception. The rule is that prosecutors must offer a plea bargain that results in the defendant going home on probation rather than serving time in custody.  Even for murder.

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Homicide Rates Climb, Citizens Told it is the New Normal

The Washington Post has this story addressing the steep increase in homicides across the country in the last year. 

“It’s going to get worse,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D) said.

As the homicide rate climbed through a year of pandemic-imposed shutdowns and civil unrest, officials held firm to their belief that the rise was driven by that exceptional set of circumstances. As life returned to normal, the theory went, the killings would slow.

But even as coronavirus restrictions have been lifted and protests have quieted in recent months, the violence has not subsided. Indeed, it has continued to grow. And now, local leaders are grappling with a possibility they had long feared: that a decades-long era of declining murder rates in America’s cities may be over, and that the increased killings may be here to stay.

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Criminal Released Early in San Francisco Stabs Elderly Woman

The NYPost has this story on a 94-year-old Asian woman, Ann Taylor, who was stabbed by a man who was under ankle monitor surveillance when he committed this unprovoked attack against her in front of her San Francisco residence. The man, Daniel Cauich, “…had reportedly been arrested five times last year on burglary charges, was sprung by a judge on June 7 to await his trial after his most recent arrest for burglary on May 18.” 

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