In a recent discussion over Zoom between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez professed a desire to still explore defunding of police departments while brushing off recent reports of elevating crime levels in major cities.
AOC Pans Crime Surge Fears as ‘Hysteria,’ Still Backs Defunding Police https://t.co/P9oTXB71YR Meanwhile… NYC Times Square shooting leaves tourist hospitalized, suspects at large https://t.co/fqBb8182Si
— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) June 28, 2021
With being just over a year since the expression and calls for “defund the police” began circulating in the mainstream, recent polling shows that the notion is hardly popular.
In fact, a USA Today poll showed that roughly 18% of respondents supported the idea of defunding police. Even when breaking down the respondents to self-identified Democrats, only 34% supported defunding of police.
However, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez brushed off recent reports of major cities experiencing a surge and crime – calling it “hysteria” – while speaking with Rep. Bowman over a Zoom meeting earlier in June and proclaimed that officials should still “look at these numbers” and determine how police can be defunded:
“We are seeing these headlines about percentage increases. Now, I want to say that any amount of harm is unacceptable and too much.”
“But I also want to make sure that this hysteria, you know, that this doesn’t drive a hysteria and that we look at these numbers in context so that we can make responsible decisions about what to allocate in that context.”
WATCH: Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls the concerns over the spike in crime "hysteria" pic.twitter.com/MMZ2dlAhpM
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 25, 2021
One has to keep in mind, that reports show cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, Austin and New York City – all cities that have engaged in some sort of police defunding – have experienced higher levels of crimes.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez happens to be the 14th District Representative of New York City, a city that defunded police and, as of March 2021, saw an 11.8% increase in murder, 40.1% increase in shooting incidents and a 39% increase in shootings victims when compared to data the previous year.
During the conversation between Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Bowman, who also supports the idea of “reallocation of resources” from the NYPD to social programs, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez voiced her allegiance to police defunding:
“I agree with Representative Bowman, that I do believe that we need to reallocate resources away and that a big, you know, major causes of this — and by the way, I also think it’s important context because we hear on the news and media, they perpetuate this idea of crime wave, crime wave, crime wave, right?”
“And so this idea that a lot of us are panicked thinking that we are at some unprecedented level that we’ve never seen before.”
Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doubles down on Defund the Police, downplays crime wave pic.twitter.com/rZEUmmudyR
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 25, 2021
While Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is accurate in noting that cities like New York City aren’t experiencing an “unprecedented” level of crime “that we’ve never seen before” – particularly the crime levels of the 1990s were much higher than today’s – crime didn’t go down due to removing funds and resources from police.
A report written by Steven D. Levitt in 2004 actually pointed to four specific reasons why crime that was rampant in the 1990s began to fall. One of the reasons cited was “increases in the number of police”.
None of the other three reasons came anywhere close to highlighting the funding of social programs/services.
But one of the other reasons Levitt wrote that helped reduce the crime levels from the 1990s was “the rising prison population” – as in, more people were being placed into jails and prisons for various offenses.
Which, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez recently professed that one solution to reducing violent crime is reducing the number of jails.
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We at Law Enforcement Today reported on Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s comments on reducing the number of jails earlier in June.
Here’s that previous report.
NEW YORK – At a recent ‘violence prevention’ event, Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared that building fewer jails will reduce violent crime.
She uttered this arguably ridiculous assertion at a press conference at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx on Thursday, June 3, 2021.
At the event, she and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Westchester) presented a program called Stand Up to Violence, which reportedly is a community outreach program designed to prevent and reduce crime.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 4, 2021
However, touting this program was apparently not enough for AOC, a staunch proponent of defunding the police, as she also indicated that reducing one means of separating violent individuals from society was also the way to go.
“If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them.”
— The Recount (@therecount) June 3, 2021
“The answer is to make sure that we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental health care, and overall health care, employment, et cetera.”
“It’s a support community.
“It’s not throw them away.”
These comments come at a time when the nation is seeing a spike in violent crime, with 63 of the 66 largest cities in the country experiencing an increase in violent crime.
According to the latest NYPD statistics, in police-defunded New York City alone, overall crime rose 22% compared with May 2020, with felony assault increasing 20.5% over last May, and shooting incidents skyrocketing by 73%.
Violent crime overall in NYC has increased by 30% compared to last year.
Hate crimes against Asians in New York City have also increased by a whopping 335%, with 87 reported incidents through May of 2021, compared to 20 incidents at this time last year.
Backlash for AOC’s comments was, predictably, swift and pointed.
Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) suggested on Twitter that AOC desired a situation like “The Purge,” a fictional movie in which criminals were permitted a 12-hour period to commit – legally – any and all crimes without police intervention.
‘If AOC had her way . . . there’d be no jails, no arrests, no police (except her private security).
“New York City would be turned into a 24/7 movie set for ‘The Purge.’”
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) June 4, 2021
She also told the New York Post:
“It’s ludicrous to say this at a time when almost every category of major crime is up in our city and criminals are back onto our streets immediately after being arrested to strike again.
“She has no regard for public safety, no respect for law enforcement and is a hypocrite because she walks around with private security.”
Nicole had this to say to the @nypost about @RepAOC’s comments: “She has no regard for public safety, no respect for law enforcement and is a hypocrite because she walks around with private security.”https://t.co/shrmqlzlaI
— Office of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (@RepMalliotakis) June 4, 2021
Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District also told the Post:
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and far-left Democrats called to abolish ICE and stop funding for the border wall, and we now have the worst immigration crisis in 20 years.
“They called to defund the police, and violent crime in nearly every city across America has tragically skyrocketed.
“Now, they want to get rid of jails. While the Democrats continue to dismantle our institutions, safety and security, Republicans stand strongly with the American people on the side of law and order.”
Conservative commentator Liz Wheeler asserted that AOC’s statements were representative of Critical Theory, tweeting:
“1/ AOC is practicing Critical Theory here (the grandfather of Critical Race Theory).
“Intentionally or as a stooge, who knows.
“She’s painting institutions as inherently unjust (altho it’s not unjust to jail criminals who commit violent crimes).”
“Her goal is to tear down the institution itself (first jails, then entire criminal justice system) thru relentless criticism based on the false notion that everyone is either oppressed or an oppressor.
“Then what will replace the system? Marxism. This is textbook Critical Theory.”
Her goal is to tear down the institution itself (first jails, then entire criminal justice system) thru relentless criticism based on the false notion that everyone is either oppressed or an oppressor. Then what will replace the system? Marxism. This is textbook Critical Theory.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) June 4, 2021
Addressing AOC’s questionable logic, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tweeted:
“AOC says insane Dem policies like doing away w/ bail & defunding police don’t cause crime waves & says ‘want less crime, build fewer jails.’
“Don’t want more pandemics, build fewer hospitals! #1 sign of pandemic? Hospitals full of patients. No hospitals/no patients/no pandemic!”
AOC says insane Dem policies like doing away w/ bail & defunding police don't cause crime waves & says "want less crime, build fewer jails." Don’t want more pandemics, build fewer hospitals! #1 sign of pandemic? Hospitals full of patients. No hospitals/no patients/no pandemic!
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 5, 2021
Writer and syndicated columnist David Harsanyi joined in on poking fun at the logic, announcing:
“I am going to stop buying scales. It’s the only real way to lose weight.”
I am going to stop buying scales. It's the only real way to lose weight. https://t.co/wkGo4PXbCp
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) June 3, 2021
Progressive writer Zaid Jilani pointed out, in a now deleted tweet:
“This is actually really wrong, many prisoners (sic) are overcrowded and antiquated, simply blocking the construction of new ones is inhumane.
“And you can talk all you want about just having fewer prisoners but you aren’t going to get any significant drop overnight, everyone knows that.”
AOC’s anti-jail comments, as well as her dismissal of bail reform as a problem for New York, fly in the face of recent statements by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea on rising crime and recidivism.
Regarding a recently arrested homeless man who sucker-punched an Asian woman on May 31, Shea pointed out that the man had been arrested – and released – 8 times this year for assault and arson.
“What are we doing in society when we are releasing these people right back onto the street? It’s craziness.”
The New York City Police Benevolent Association appeared to agree, tweeting:
“Whether this individual needs mental health services, jail time or both, the answer CANNOT be to put him right back on the street.”
"Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wright has been arrested 8x in the past year on charges including assault & arson."
Whether this individual needs mental health services, jail time or both, the answer CANNOT be to put him right back on the street.https://t.co/A1NG6p9Zen
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) June 1, 2021
Although he was standing right next to AOC as she made her comments on reducing jails to reduce violent crime, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer declined to respond to the New York Post’s request for input on her statements.
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