What’s the higher moral ground, the safety of the public or progressive thoughts as to justice for offenders?
Destroying Children-The National Institute of Justice
A dangerous or life-threatening experience may become a traumatic event for a child. The child may see the event as an intense threat to his or her safety and will typically experience a high level of fear or helplessness.
Trauma may result from a wide range of events, including accidents and natural disasters. Of great priority to those in the public safety and justice fields, traumatic experiences may be caused by exposure — as a victim or a witness — to community violence, domestic violence, sexual abuse, or terrorist attacks.
Trauma experienced during childhood may result in profound and long-lasting negative effects that extend well into adulthood. The direct effects may be psychological, behavioral, social, and even biological.
These effects are associated with longer-term consequences, including risk for further victimization, delinquency and adult criminality, substance abuse, poor school performance, depression, and chronic disease, National Institute Of Justice.
To the list above, you can add immense fear, devastating impacts on jobs and the economy and people moving out of cities.
The Twenty-Year Reduction in Crime Is Over-Why?
There was a twenty-year plus reduction in crime per the National Crime Victimization and the FBI. The reductions were considerable.
Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey state that we were at record historical lows for criminal activity. From 1993 to 2015, the rate of violent crime declined from 79.8 to 18.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older.
Using the FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 48% between 1993 and 2016. Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (National Crime Survey), the rate fell 74% during that span, US Crime Rates.
The Progressive Revolt
There were active discussions among progressives acknowledging the reductions and subsequent calls for changes as to how the criminal justice system should change. In their minds, the justice system over-arrested, over-incarcerated, held too many people in jail before trial, and widely discriminated against people of color.
In 2014, the left-of-center Marshall Project said, “The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. From spiraling costs, to controversial drug laws, to prison violence, to concerns about systemic racial bias, there is a growing bipartisan consensus that America’s criminal justice system is in dire need of reform,” Web Archive.
Justice agencies started calling offenders “clients” or “returning citizens” or “justice-involved persons.” There probably isn’t a parole and probation agency in the country that doesn’t use one or all of these terms. If you search any or all the descriptors mentioned, you will see that agencies from the US Department of Justice to correctional systems to many others embraced the new terminology.
The thought was that the terms “offenders” or “criminals” were simply too harsh and unforgiving and contributed to massive recidivism and reentry into the justice system.
It just wasn’t a change in terminology. Because of use of force issues, all cops were endlessly attacked; they were told to cease proactivity although proactive policing was one of the few modalities that had a research base as to reducing crime, Proactive Policing.
Prisons and the overall use of incarceration were criticized. Keeping people before trial was fundamentally unjust. The justice system was described as racist.
Change had to come.
The Problem-Violent Crime Started To Increase
The problem was that violent crime started to rise in 2015 as reported by the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey via the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Remember, we previously had twenty-year plus reductions.
We have a 28 percent increase in all violent crime (including simple assaults) per the National Crime Survey (2015-2018) with increases in serious violence, and the presumption that this applies to 2019 (no change in violent crime in 2019 when including simple assaults per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Crime Rates.
Violent crime and serious violent crime started increasing concurrently with the progressive movement. But no one paid attention because most are more familiar with “reported” national crime data from the FBI even though the FBI records a small percentage of overall crime. Only 41 percent of violent crimes are reported to law enforcement agencies. For property crimes, it’s much less.
Progressives insisted that violent crime was not increasing. They insisted that we never lived in safer times. They said that those suggesting that violent crime was increasing were simply in opposition to progressive change.
In a Reddit criminology forum, when I reported on Department of Justice violent crime increases, one reader responded that I should just admit that I was a racist. Moderators did nothing. Moderators said nothing.
We Started To Worry
Those of us spending decades in the justice system began to worry. We were getting reports throughout the country that violence was starting to get out of hand.
We all understood that the justice system was far from perfect. There were (and still are) racial disparities but per the Department of Justice, arrests matched victim descriptions of offenders. In other words, they were proportional to offending, Race And Crime.
Regardless, all within the system understand that we are here to serve and that all Americans, regardless of who they are, deserve respect and equal treatment.
Giving Offenders A Green Light
But we understood that offenders were smart enough to understand vulnerabilities. Criminals saw that police officers were leaving the job and they were restricting proactive (aggressive) policing. Police budgets were being cut throughout the nation. Arrested plummeted.
Juvenile arrests dropped to their lowest level in 40 years. Juvenile arrests overall fell by 58% between 2010 and 2019. The data shows that overall arrests have declined by nearly 25 percent over the last decade. But per current DOJ officials, “These findings are encouraging and we are hopeful that the declines in juvenile arrests will continue.”
They heard the calls for limited or no pretrial incarceration and far less reliance on incarceration. During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden bragged that he would cut the prison population in half, Cutting Prisons. Offender’s heard his criticisms of cops.
They acknowledged the calls from progressive prosecutors that a wide variety of crimes would no longer be prosecuted.
As far as offenders were concerned, we were giving them a green light to increase criminal activity. It’s similar to the massive influx at the southern border based upon perceptions that the US would now allow more people to cross.
Criminals prey on the most vulnerable which is why the disabled have much higher rates of crime. Rates of crime against females either matched or exceeded the victimization of males in recent years which was unheard of previously. Crimes against the elderly are much higher than most realize, especially when it comes to fraud. Asians are now the subject of multiple hit-and-run attacks.
For those of us with decades of justice experience, we knew in our hearts that we were sending the wrong messages to dangerous people with devastating consequences.
Violent Crime Continues To Increase
Beyond the 28 percent increase in all violent crime per the National Crime Victimization Survey, we have a tripling of violent crime per Gallup, endless media reports of vastly increasing urban violence in 2020-2021 after the COVID lockdowns and riots, a rise in homicides and aggravated assaults in 2019 and 2020 per the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a considerable and recent rise in homicides, aggravated assaults and robberies after the lockdowns by the University of Missouri, and considerable increases in homicides and violence by COVID and Crime.
Per FBI preliminary statistics for all of 2020, there was a 25 percent increase in homicides, overall violent crime increased by 3.3 percent, and aggravated assaults increased by 10.5 percent, Violent Crime Increases in 2020.
Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic — a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year, Rising Urban Homicides-CNN.
Fear of crime is at its highest level in years. Firearm and security sales are skyrocketing. Per media accounts, people are leaving cities.
Early indications for 2021 suggest that violence continues to grow.
The focus of violent crime increases seems to be concentrated in American cities. It’s minorities being hit the hardest, US Crime Rates.
The Revolution Begins-You Cannot Coddle Violent Criminals (rearranged quotes from all sources for brevity)
Washington D.C. police chief Robert Contee slammed rising crime in the city Friday, insisting ‘You cannot coddle violent criminals’, and the White House’s new strategy to tackle violent crime.
A shooting Thursday night at the popular D.C. 14th Street dining area that left two injured and sent diners fleeing for their lives, sparked Contee’s visit to the busy corridor to talk to business owners.
‘People are really mad as hell right now, and I don’t blame them, because I am too. That’s the reality,’ he said.
I think people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I think that people want to ensure that there is accountability for what’s happening in our communities.’
He pleaded: ‘I’m asking community members: join with me.
‘My voice is only but one voice and I’ve been saying this for a long time … I’ve been in this police department for over 30 years. This is the same movie from when I was a boy growing up here. When are we going to do something different?’ said Contee. ‘And what different looks like – what does not happen here – is accountability.’
Contrasting the Biden Administration’s strategy to focus on gun dealers instead of individual criminals, Contee said he wants to crack down on those who have led a surge in crime.
‘I’m talking about those individuals who brazenly use illegal firearms in our street,’ Contee clarified, Daily Mail
These statements are from the chief of police for one of the nation’s most liberal cities. In previous years a D.C. police chief could never make these statements before a national and international audience.
Detroit, Michigan: Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig called out city leaders nationwide for playing a large role in the crime waves rocking Washington, D.C. and elsewhere across the country, one day after a brazen shooting in the 14th Street nightlife district of the nation’s capital.
Craig, who retired in June and announced an exploratory committee for a Republican bid against Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022, told “The Story” that Washington, D.C., police chief Robert Contee sounded the right tone in response to the latest shooting there.
“I got to applaud the chief out of D.C. He’s saying what so many chiefs are saying around the country. Some are afraid to say it. It’s bigger than just him,” Craig said, Fox News.
London, UK: Boris Johnson is to put the war on crime at the heart of his post-pandemic domestic agenda as he begins his third year in Downing Street. He sympathized with the “confusion” felt by crime victims followed by “a sense of shock, and violation” and then “fury” and promised that his Government would be on their side. We need now to redouble our efforts, to continue to put more police out on the street, and to back them all the way, The Express.
Calfornia: Those who want voters to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom joined crime victim advocates at the state Capitol last Tuesday to accuse the governor of being too lenient on lawbreakers as the state experiences a new wave of crime.
They castigated him for unilaterally suspending executions of murderers and making it easier for felons to win release from state prisons. “The thing that really alarms me about what the governor did, is that it’s a continuation of policies to undermine the criminal justice system, and to put dangerous people back out onto the streets, CalMatters.
Arkansas: “This is all a result of naive and foolish policies that are letting prisoners out of jail early sometimes because of false claims that we have an over incarceration problem in this country or exaggerated fears about the coronavirus,” Senator Tom Cotton said, Business Insider.
A Huge Political Liability
The primary message from the second President’s crime summit came from Eric Adams, the pro-police probable next mayor of New York City who, I believe, told the President that his agenda (and that of Democrats throughout the country) depends on a strong approach to violence based on research proving effectiveness.
Per Mr. Adam’s campaign website, “If we are for SAFETY – we NEED the NYPD, Eric Adams. He was a New York City cop for twenty-two years retiring as a captain.
Mr. Adams and aids are telling the President that exploding violence, US Crime Rates, is creating a huge political liability for him and his party. They are also advising him that his proposals (i.e., violence interrupters, programs for ex-offenders, gun control, and social programs) are not going to reduce violent crime.
They are telling him that because it’s true. Go to the Department of Justice’s Crime Solutions.Gov (the supposed gold standard as to what works to reduce crime) and search for programs rated as successful focusing on violence interrupters, programs for ex-offenders, gun control, and social programs. There is little evidence that they work.
Do We Now Have A Consensus On Offender Accountability?
No, but it’s growing. A variety of cities still are promoting violence prevention programs with little data to indicate they are effective.
Minneapolis city officials voted Friday to approve the language of a ballot measure that will ask voters in November whether the city’s police department should be replaced with public safety department, CNN.
But there is a growing sense of frustration and fear with crime topping the list of American concerns. Fear of crime is at an all-time high.
Businesses are shutting down or limiting hours of operation. People are leaving cities. Gun and security sales are going through the roof.
But did you ever live or work in Washington, D.C.? It’s shocking to see almost every house having bars on residential and business doors and windows yet D.C. is (was?) home to some of the country’s most liberal views on crime and criminal offenders.
There will still be an endless debate as to accountability for offenders versus progressive views.
“Republicans plotting to retake the majority in the House and Senate next November may well have found the issue that could make that happen: crime,” wrote CNN’s Chris Cillizza. “Democrats should beware,” wrote Rich Lowry here. It’s a theme that is circulating across the political spectrum, from right (Fox News) to left (Brookings Institution), Politico.
Cities could die. You could be a victim of a violent crime.
Crime will continue to explode but progressives won’t change their views. They are the good guys, the one’s willing and able to protect Americas from an unforgiving and unjust policing and justice system. Offenders still need their protection.
It doesn’t matter how many children are traumatized for life. It doesn’t matter how many elderly are victimized. It doesn’t matter if jobs and businesses are lost. It doesn’t matter if girls and women are victimized. What matters is protection for offenders from a repressive and unjust justice system.
There will come a time when this backfires on the progressive movement. That time could be sooner than you think.
My book based on thirty-five years of criminal justice public relations,” Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization” available at Amazon
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