By now, you probably know that the surge in violent crime and lawlessness across America is no longer a secret.
Crime has become our new pandemic — sweeping across the American landscape randomly, unprovoked and unstoppable, attacks with no rhyme or reason for where they strike.
A recent national poll stated that Americans fear crime at an alarming rate; it showed that 80% of women and 74% of men fear being physically assaulted when simply walking down the street.
In America, you should not have to fear walking down the street.
What is causing this uptick in violent crime, lawlessness and random attacks on citizens in public places who do not know their attackers? Some of it is rooted in the fact that police departments nationwide are under fire for how they respond to calls, handle citizens and enforce laws justly.
However, the rules of engagement for police have changed. First, law enforcement officers must fear being fired, sent to prison or, even worse, just doing their job. Then came the “defund the police” rhetoric/movement, which led only to extreme lawlessness that has transformed into a full-blown avalanche of crime.
Compounding that problem is that state attorneys and district attorneys nationwide are now refusing to properly charge criminals and dumping them back into the streets, often within days of being charged or appearing in bond court.
Police are fed up with it. After they make an arrest, the criminal will return to the streets, so some may ask themselves, “Why even bother?” Last year, it was reported that in Chicago, police made arrests in only 12% of the reported crimes.
Criminals know that there is no real penalty for their actions, which results in no deterrent to keep from them committing crimes, emboldening them to keep committing crimes, even violent ones, over and over and over again. Without a doubt, former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her re-election bid due mainly to the surge in crime.
While no one individual is responsible for crime, the increase in crime or lawlessness is directly related to policies and procedures put out by politicians and police command staff, and that plays a vital role in how police must respond to calls. One way you can measure this is by officer-initiated traffic stops, arrests and proactive patrol measures, which have plummeted across America and certainly in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.
Self-initiated police work is no longer happening in most communities. Instead, officers get in their squads and respond to their radio calls, one after another, all shift long. In Chicago and many large suburbs, they exit roll call to their squad cars with multiple calls stacked and waiting for them to respond; officers typically have four, five or six calls stacked at a time and must decide which call gets priority over another — even at the very start of their shift. This is no way to do policing, let alone proactive policing; it just cannot happen when responding to calls back to back.
What is driving this? What is driving lawlessness? What is driving the crime? Did law enforcement fail? Did community leaders fail? What role did COVID play?
COVID plays no part anymore; that is just an excuse often used by police leadership and politicians. Indeed, early in 2020, COVID played a role — but for our leaders to continue to blame COVID for the boost in crime is simply flawed.
In some ways, law enforcement has failed. I am not talking about the rank-and-file officers; I am speaking of law enforcement leadership. Law enforcement leaders must remember how to lead and manage their police departments, or have just neglected to do so. Instead, many chiefs and superintendents have locked themselves in their offices and disconnected themselves from the men and women of their patrol force — no doubt.
A fresh style of leadership is needed immediately.
Most agencies can assign deputy chiefs to run the operations and administrative parts of the police department; leaders need to be out with the men and women of the patrol force and investigations, leading from the front. You may think that sounds clichéd, but it needs to happen.
Political and community leaders have failed abysmally. Time and time again, they jump on the bandwagon for the headline or sound bite when it comes to defunding the police or gutting police budgets, which directly affect police operations, equipment and morale, all the way through recruiting and retention. Police morale is at an all-time low.
The list of what police officers may no longer do versus what they are allowed to do is lengthy. A few examples include legislation to reduce traffic stops, to outlaw the use of police canines, to prohibit police dogs from being able to bite and to prohibit officers from using Tasers in certain circumstances. These pieces of legislation are absurd. That is tantamount to telling a surgeon that they will not be allowed to use some of their most crucial instruments in the operating room while trying to perform surgery. Think about that.
Every piece of new legislation coming out of most state capitals, or at the national level in Washington, is very restrictive and pervasively anti-police, resulting in increased violent crime and lawlessness.
If you want to see a crime reduction, allow the police to do the job they are sworn to do. This does not mean allowing officers to go unchecked and unrestricted; police should continue to do their job within individuals’ laws and constitutional rights. But persistently taking away the essential elements of law enforcement throughout this country will guarantee America continues to plummet into a progressive lawless society.
Of course, this may affect you to a point where you agree with me only when you become the victim of a violent crime — and wonder where the police were.