Many people are raising their eyebrows over the responses of Democratic mayors to the surge in crime that’s happening in large cities like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia.
The country’s murder rate went up by 30% between 2019 and 2020, per FBI data. This rate is the biggest annual increase that has been recorded, and Chicago is at the top of the list. Over 12 major U.S. cities, including New York, already made history with their murder records this year. Crimes like robberies and assaults also saw an increase. With this, retailers in large cities have reported a surge in organized smash-and-grab crimes within the bustling holiday shopping season.
Crime in Chicago
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago received criticism due to the way she responded to the recent uptick in robberies in her city. Instead of revealing a plan to lower the crime rate, she ended up blaming the retailers for not protecting their items better.
At an event last Dec. 6, she said: “We also got to push retailers … I'm disappointed that they are not doing more to take safety and make it a priority. For example, we still have retailers that won't institute plans like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they've got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night. Chaining high-end bags, these purses seem to be something that is attracting a lot of attention on these organized retail theft units.”
Retailers slammed Lightfoot’s comets, describing it as misinformed.
In New York City
Meanwhile, in NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses in the city. This is one of his last acts as the mayor before he turns over the reigns to Mayor-elect Eric Adams. He claims that it’s his “job” to “protect” the residents of New York City.
This mandate only gave businesses three weeks to comply before it gets fully implemented on Dec. 17, four days before de Blasio ends his term.
Over the weekend, de Blasio appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he claimed NYC is “much safer” now compared to when he first became mayor eight years ago. He said this despite the surge in murders that took place in the city last year. This number remains high until today.
“Eight years I’ve been mayor, index crimes, major crimes in New York City down 11% over eight years. And we did it bringing police and community closer together,” he said. “The bottom line is that there is today in New York City, a much safer city than we were eight years ago.”
“I have confidence and the NYPD has confidence that we’re going to get back to the prepandemic levels soon, and then surpass, and become even safer,” de Blasio went on to say, adding, “And the statistics show it in most of the city; there are a few places where we’re struggling.”
This year in Philadelphia, authorities have reported a 13% rise in homicides compared to 2020. However, District Attorney Larry Krasner experience backlash this week after he claimed that Philadelphia’s crime problem is nonexistent.
“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence,” Krasner told reporters Monday. “It’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed into the notion that there is some kind of big spike in crime. There isn't. There is not a big spike in crime. … There is not a big spike in violent crime. Neither one of these things is true,” he went on to say.
Later on, the district attorney went back on his comments, although he didn’t apologize nor did he make an effort to change his remarks.
“I know that some inarticulate things I said earlier this week have offended people. The message conveyed through media sound bites is not at all what I meant,” he said on Thursday, adding, “Complete answers based on data aimed at solutions to gun violence will be edited down to sound bites. It’s my job to make sure even those sound bites are careful. As someone whose strong support is owed in part to the fact that I don’t communicate or make decisions like a career politician, it is my obligation to do better.”
In Los Angeles
The district attorney of Los Angeles, California, George Gascon, was also slammed by the public as a surge in smash-and-grab robberies happened in his city. His critics blamed the district attorney’s zero-bail policies that resulted in the release of 14 suspects who were reportedly involved in 11 instances of this particular crime last month.
Gascon, however, defended himself at a press conference last week. He slammed what he described as “fearmongering and misinformation” about crime in L.A. County, according to The Los Angeles Times.
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