April 20, 2022
by Jim Breslo
Los Angeles’ crime problem has gone from very bad to worse. The L.A. police department recently issued an “Area Safety Bulletin” about “violent street robberies” by local gangs. The bulletin warns of a rash of robberies targeting residents based on the car they’re driving in order to steal expensive watches, jewelry, and purses.
I was already aware of the problem since it happened to a friend of mine recently. He pulled into a 7-11 store in West Los Angeles in his BMW convertible, wearing a nice watch and necklace. Before he could get out of his car, three gang members in ski masks were pointing guns at him. They opened his door, ripped the watch and necklace off of him, stole his wallet, and sliced him with a knife.
By now there can be little doubt that progressive, weak on crime policies have led to a crime surge. These include:
Releasing more criminals on the street: Most of the crime is being committed by people with criminal records. California and Los Angeles have been releasing both prison inmates and those facing trial at an unprecedented level. The state reduced sentences for existing prisoners, releasing tens of thousands of them into the general population. It has also converted a host of crimes from felony to misdemeanor. For instance, if you steal less than $950 and you now only face misdemeanor charges. Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is the mastermind behind many of these policies. He directs his prosecutors not to prosecute the majority of misdemeanor crimes. He has also reduced or eliminated bail requirements, which means after the LAPD does the good work of arresting suspects, they are put right back on the street to commit more crimes as they await trial.
Defunding Police: In response to the 2020 George Floyd protests and absurd calls from Black Lives Matter to defund the police, Los Angeles cut $150 million from the LAPD budget, handing the money instead over to leftist experiments like guaranteed income handed out to residents via a lottery. Thanks to the defunding, L.A. now has 500 fewer officers than in 2019. It also has a demoralized police force which clearly does not have the support of City Hall. To city leaders, the criminal is the victim, and the police are the culprits. The response of many officers has been to retreat from crime fighting. This is only natural since the more aggressively they fight crime, the more likely they are to be accused of brutality or being racist.
Homelessness: Los Angeles’ homeless population continues to grow to record levels. They break the law by camping on sidewalks, beaches, and in parks. The number continues to rise because L.A. does not enforce those laws as part of its effort to be “compassionate” toward the homeless. Cities surrounding L.A. that enforce the laws have no homeless problem. The homeless are unemployed and typically have addiction and/or psychiatric problems. Naturally they often resort to crime to survive, from breaking into residences to stealing bikes to shoplifting.
Illegal immigration: Illegal immigration has exploded since President Biden took office and implemented the left’s no border policy. We have no idea exactly who is coming in, from where, and for what purpose. We do know that the cartels are involved and making money from virtually every crossing. We know that Los Angeles gangs have relationships with the cartels as their drug suppliers. We know that the cartels are bringing fentanyl into California leading to record overdose deaths. We know that cartels will make money anyway they can, whether it be drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, or extortion. There is far more money to be made in the United States than Mexico. We know that the cartels have expanded their operations in the U.S. For instance, the cartels are the number one grower of marijuana in California, despite it being legal to grow. The cartels also create fake identities. With about $20 billion stolen from California by fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic, one must wonder what role the cartels played in the scheme.
There are simple, common sense solutions to these problems. Angelenos from all sides of the political spectrum are now united in demanding action. With elections coming up later this year, progressive city leaders seeking to remain in power are running out of time to respond.