Decriminalizing Crime – OpEd


We are not just decriminalizing marijuana—we are decriminalizing street crime.

In New York City, where I work, kids are coming to school high on marijuana, addicts are shooting up in daylight, the mentally ill are shoving people onto subway tracks, teens are jumping the turnstiles, and those operating motorized bikes and scooters are running into pedestrians and cars. Most are not arrested and the few that are wind up back on the street before the cops complete the paperwork.

It’s not just in New York. All of the following happened this week.

In Philadelphia, over 100 youths ransacked stores and stole property. It started Tuesday night and did not end until Wednesday morning. Apparently, these kids don’t go to school or work, so what exactly do they do all day, besides commit crime?

This time they did not cannibalize their own neighborhood—they went on a rampage for eight hours in Central City, as well as North and West Philly. They targeted retail stores like Lululemon, the Apple Store, Footlocker, Walmart, Family Dollar, GameStop and others. Only around 50 were arrested. They were back at it again Wednesday night into Thursday morning, this time hauling away liquor and sneakers.

In New York City, a $5,000 painting was stolen in a smash-and-grab robbery on Monday. The gallery promotes the work of modern masters such as Keith Haring, Picasso and Andy Warhol. The thief had a car waiting for him. No arrests were made.

Target, the retail giant, sports a progressive politics, so it was only fitting that it suffer the consequences of its ideas. It announced on Tuesday that it is closing nine stores, all because the smash-and-grabbers are out-of-control. They are closing stores in East Harlem, New York, three in the San Francisco Bay Area, three in Portland, and two in Seattle. Target expects to have losses of over $1.2 billion this fiscal year—and its innocent customers will pay for it in higher prices.

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors told the police, who have been demonized for years, that they could use almost $16 million to fight smash-and-grab crime. Statewide, Gov. Gavin Newsom has decided not to go after the criminals. Instead, he is doling out $267 million to reimburse store owners who have been victimized by smash-and-grab criminals. So now the taxpayers are paying for their loss of inventory.

On Sunday, smash-and-grabbers hit two Silver Lake businesses in Los Angeles. They went after the high-end sneakers—they love pricey sneakers. This was the fourth time they raided the store.

Nationwide, the National Retail Foundation says that the inventory losses this year now top $112 billion.

On Tuesday, there were three armed robberies in the middle of the day in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. The police said this was a “trend.” To fight back, they are using helicopters, bicycles, license plate readers and specialized teams of officers.

In the 18th District, which includes most of Lincoln Park, and a few other communities, there have been about 300 robberies this year. The District Captain says teenagers are stealing cars to do the robberies and after they ditch one, they “get one the next day,” he says. “So it’s like Whac-a-Mole. We’re constantly playing cat and mouse.”

Oh, yes, in Chicago last weekend, 30 were shot and three were killed. One of them was Charles Hobson Sr. He went out to get something from  his truck and was shot dead. He was 86.

Every one of these cities are run by Democrats. None believe in law and order. In fact, it’s even worse than this. Consider how we treat violent street criminals as compared to the January 6 rioters, none of whom  killed anyone.

Antifa, the urban terrorist group, gets its money by teaming with outfits such as the National Lawyers Guild, the champion defender of communism. The activist attorneys show up to video tape Antifa interactions with the cops, selectively choosing footage to implicate the police. If they win a settlement, the money goes into their pockets so they can act as “legal observers” the next time.

Earlier this year, Philadelphia agreed to pay $9.25 million to 343 “protesters” who said they suffered “physical and emotional” injuries. What were they doing? The police were forced to use tear gas and pepper spray to clear them from a major highway at a Black Lives Matter riot.

In July, New York City agreed to pay more than $13 million to “protesters” who rioted during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. They got about $10,000 each. In a separate New York riot, the “protesters” were rewarded at least $21,500 each in a $6 million settlement.

The latest scheme to deal with crime in New York City starts on Sunday. There will be free bus service for five neighborhoods. To qualify, residents must live in a low-income area where “fare evasion” is commonplace. Once again, law breakers are rewarded and the innocent pay.  

As I point out in my book, War on Virtue, social problems like these will continue as long as white liberals refuse to jettison their racism and start treating blacks as equals. They are the ones driving the decriminalization of street crime, and blacks are their biggest victims.

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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