Background and Joe’s view of our crime problems:
If you routinely turn on the tv, surf the Internet, or read a newspaper, you don’t need to be told that crime, particularly violent crime, seems to be at an all-time high right now—especially in cities around our country.
To compound the problem, we have seen police officers retiring at a higher rate since the defund the police movement. Also, District Attorneys that have been elected in some major U.S. cities seem more intent on paying attention to the rights of criminals than those of victims. In short, the world seems upside down and we need proper leadership from all levels of government to address this problem.
Most law enforcement happens at the local or state level, so in some sense there is a limit to what the federal government can do; however, it is Joe’s belief that the permissive attitude of federal leadership is certainly a contributing factor to the current crime problem. Notably, at least in the current administration, the Justice Department seems to only enforce laws that they agree with while completely ignoring laws that they don’t like. For instance, there have been no attempts to track down and prosecute ANTIFA rioters who took over many cities in 2020 while many who have been arrested in the January 6 Capitol actions have been held without due process. Parents who have protested critical race theory at local school board meetings were threatened with being treated as terrorists, while people protesting the possible overturning of abortion at the homes of Supreme Court Justices were given a free pass.
Another example of federally supported lawlessness is that Border Patrol agents, who are trying to do their jobs, are not supported by this administration and, in some cases, unjustifiably vilified for doing their jobs. How can we have a lawful country with low crime when our government constantly transmits the message that law enforcement is no longer equally applied, it is only applied through a political lens?
Joe’s Crime Solutions:
We should begin to enforce our laws without regard to politics. The selective enforcement by the Biden administration of only laws that they favor must end. Although it is every administration’s right to lobby for a change in laws that they don’t agree with, it is their constitutional obligation to enforce all laws, whether they like them or not. The President takes an oath to support the Constitution and laws, unless found to be unconstitutional, fall under this oath. Failure to abide by this sworn duty is not only a lack of leadership, it represents a threat to our country by the very people sworn to protect it.
At the heart of solving our crime problem, as well as many other issues impacting our country, is trust—or a lack of it. Too many politicians, at all levels of government, would rather point fingers than truly solve problems. For example, in the aftermath of the George Floyd incident and the riots of 2020, we saw an example of this by many politicians who started the "defund the police" movement as a means of trying to stir up people, get in the media spotlight, and lead an effort they thought would bring them political gain. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the majority of people in this country were outraged by the video of this incident and, for a moment, there appeared to be an opportunity to bring the majority of people in this country, as well as both political parties, together to support some meaningful law enforcement reforms. Unfortunately, as it happens all too often, opportunist politicians sought the political advantage that they thought they would receive by whipping people into a frenzy instead of opting for a measured approach of trying to forge a consensus to implement meaningful reforms that could prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. If we are to solve problems such as crime, we must demand that those in positions of authority act honestly in an effort to build trust and solve problems rather than seeking to throw gasoline on a fire for political gain.
We should support rank and file law enforcement officers at all levels of government, from police in our cities to federal law officers. We should make sure that each leader in law enforcement, from Chiefs of Police to the heads of federal law agencies, put politics aside and focus on their jobs. They should make sure that the men and women they lead get the best possible training, clear policies within which to operate, and feel supported as they seek to do their jobs. When we do find bad apples who don’t follow their training and break rules or laws, they should be disciplined, forced out, or in extreme cases prosecuted. Thankfully, the great majority of these men and women go to work every day with the admirable goal of doing their jobs the right way and protecting the rest of us.
For the majority of law enforcement officers who admirably seek to do the job the right way, we should support and honor their service and have their backs the way they have ours. We should also keep in place meaningful immunity programs that protect officers who seek to faithfully uphold our laws and follow the procedures of their departments.
We should be more supportive of victims and stop making excuses for criminals. Too many of our big city District Attorneys around the country seem more worried about the rights of criminals than they are about the rights of victims. We should always seek to find and support effective programs to rehabilitate criminals, particularly non-violent offenders, in an effort to help them become productive members of society; however, the rights of victims should always be the first consideration in our justice system.
As part of our effort to rehabilitate criminals, we should have job training programs for non-violent offenders and juvenile offenders. As part of these programs, we should explore the possibility of opening up opportunities to allow them to begin to perform work and earn some money while still in the system. If they learn a skill and are able to begin applying it, they will have the opportunity to immediately be gainfully employed in a career upon release.
We must have zero tolerance for all crimes of violence. At the top of this list is violent crime that brings harm to other persons. We must also be clear that damage to the property of others will not be tolerated.
In addition to the havoc caused to families whose loved ones are lost to overdoses of illegal drugs, drugs are also often a contributing factor in other crimes. We should promote treatment and mental health programs for those who are addicted to drugs. We must also aggressively pursue those who deal drugs and hold them accountable.
We must stop playing politics and secure our borders. It is commonly acknowledged that our largely open southern border is a major source of drugs. Additionally, it is a gateway for human trafficking and offers an opportunity for terrorists to enter our country undetected.
We should seek to separate criminals from their guns. Gun ownership is a constitutionally protected right for law abiding citizens but there are constant efforts by politicians to further limit these rights despite the fact that, by definition, crimes committed where a gun is involved are committed by CRIMINALS. Joe’s idea for gun control is to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who commit crimes with guns.
Research shows that children raised in a home with fathers present are more likely to be well adjusted than those with absentee fathers. The support of a father increases the likelihood that children will grow up to be productive citizens. We should always seek to support families, including single-parent households. We should also promote policies that incentivize fathers to remain in the home and active in the lives of their children.
We must make sure that efforts to arrest suspects correlate to the crime and danger. We have all seen stories of law enforcement responding with overwhelming force to arrest suspects in cases where there appears to be no justification for such force. Although there are certainly times when such force may be called for, it should only be used when absolutely necessary.
We have all witnessed examples of traffic stops and other law enforcement encounters with citizens that have gone wrong. We should develop and publicize a set of recommendations that all citizens should follow when encountering law officers in tense situations. If citizens follow these recommendations, we should be able to keep such situations from escalating into events where someone ends up being injured or killed. If citizens follow these guidelines and law officers are found to be the cause of escalating such a situation, that officer should be held accountable in relation to the severity of the escalation.
We must encourage respect for the law by enforcing all laws. New York City went from a very high crime rate in the 1980's to becoming one of the safest large cities in the country in the 1990's by employing a number of innovative approaches to fight crime. One of the strategies was to enforce even seemingly trivial laws in the belief that allowing such laws to be broken without any consequences would only lead to more lawlessness. Although some aspects of this policy were controversial, the fact that crime decreased during this period is not contested. Law enforcement should work with community leaders to review these policies and implement them where it makes sense.
Schools should be a safe place for children. Despite the rhetoric of some politicians, most people understand that political efforts to enact gun control will not solve the problem of school shootings. Some of our nation’s deadliest cities have strict gun laws. Instead of waiting for the next tragedy to happen in a school, we should immediately begin working with the states to initiate a school-by-school security review. The goal would be to develop a detailed plan for how to secure each school and prevent such tragedies from occurring, rather than waiting to respond after a tragedy occurs. Unfortunately, in many of these past tragedies, we have learned that those who committed these acts were known to law enforcement for prior suspicious behavior. These plans must also address options for dealing with those under such suspicion before a tragedy occurs.