Jason Rantz: Biden's crime solutions are clueless – here are 5 that will work

Proactive, community-based policing? It’s no longer possible in progressive cities

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Crime is surging in Democrat-run cities and President Joe Biden refuses to lead. 

Progressive politicians and prosecutors from New York to Portland and Minneapolis to Los Angeles have ushered in a new era of light-on-crime policies that have effectively neutered police.  

Proactive, community-based policing? It’s no longer possible in progressive cities. And even when police are allowed to do their jobs, suspects are released to art therapy and restorative justice instead of jail time, only to quickly return to a life of crime.  

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Rather than address the violence with an honest assessment of how we got here, Biden stumbled his way through a disingenuous and meandering speech that avoided all mentions of the reasons behind the surge.  

Here are five ways to get this crisis under control. 

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Refund the police: Nothing has been more destructive to public safety in this country than the Black Lives Matter-inspired defund movement and the demeaning, hateful rhetoric that came with it. Embraced by Democrats, it’s no wonder Biden refuses to call it out.  

Underfunded police departments and a constant stream of attacks (literally and figuratively) led to a mass exodus from the most anti-police cities in the country. The NYPD lost roughly 15% of its force with officers ditching the department for early retirement or lateral moves to cities that better fund and appreciate its officers. Seattle is on pace to lose nearly a quarter of the department for the same reasons. And Oakland has its lowest staffing numbers in six years. 

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At the same time, some departments aren’t funding currently vacant positions. In other cases, Democrat city officials are cutting important teams or resources from departments.  

Portland disbanded the department’s Gun Violence Reduction Team. Several units are dissolving in Austin, according to one leaked memo, including the motorcycle patrol, a family violence victim safety, stalking task force, and K9 Patrol. Minneapolis tried to cut the entire department. Violence followed. 

Some cities like Minneapolis, Baltimore and Los Angeles are attempting to refund the police. More cities should follow. 

Proactive, community policing: Defunding and disbanding made citizens vulnerable to criminals well aware that there are not enough police officers to patrol effectively. With fewer cops on the streets, proactive, community policing isn’t possible.  

When was the last time you heard of a homicide in full view of a uniformed police officer? Police visibility deters crime.  

When you have few to no officers regularly patrolling neighborhoods on foot, bike or patrol vehicles, criminals have more opportunities to strike. And with longer 911 response times due to low staffing, criminals have ample opportunities to escape. 

When was the last time you heard of a homicide in full view of a uniformed police officer? Police visibility deters crime.  

Community policing means keeping officers in the same neighborhoods so that they can create bonds with its residents, fostering a greater sense of trust. Biden made fleeting references to its importance, decrying programs that don’t fully fund this strategy. But it’s Democrats who cut the funding. And with departments in New York, Minneapolis and Seattle facing unprecedented staffing crises, there are not enough police to deploy this tactic anyway.  

What’s worse, BLM and Antifa activists have fought to keep police out of communities. They demonize officers, telling the public that cops are dangerous and out to target people of color. If Biden wants community policing, the community has to be hospitable. Democrats are getting in the way of that.  

Prosecute criminals: Progressive DAs now serve as advocates for defendants instead of the public. Arguing the criminal justice system contributes to racial inequities, prosecutors often refuse to pursue charges.  

Far-left Los Angeles County DA George Gascon announced he wouldn’t charge for many misdemeanors, including criminal threats, drug possession or trespass. The same general policies exist in King County, Washington, Multnomah County, Oregon, and Suffolk County, Massachusetts.  

When prosecutors manage to do their jobs, they offer generous plea deals that mean little to no punishment. Instead of jail time, even violent criminals get art therapy and other forms of restorative justice, the catch-all phrase for structured, supportive programs that offer alternatives to jail time.  

It’s a practical approach for young people charged with less serious crimes, like stealing candy from a convenience store. Intervention can save those kids. Unfortunately, you can be accused of drive-by shootings and still earn this alternative.  

For many offenders, restorative justice doesn’t work. They go on to re-offend, creating more victims along the way. Violent criminals belong in jail. They can take restorative finger-painting classes behind bars. 

Ignore anti-bail activists: Sometimes, judges release suspects on personal recognizance, even when accused of serious crimes. Activists, meanwhile, pay bail indiscriminately. Consequently, criminals are let free to re-offend and skip out on future court appearances. 

In Seattle, the Northwest Community Bail Fund paid to release a homeless man charged with assault and robbery in early May. The prosecutor warned of the likelihood the suspect would offend again. Weeks later, that same suspect was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the stabbing of a homeless man. He was arrested with a knife in his hand. 

Anti-bail activists believe cash bail is a racist system that is inherently unfair to low-income defendants. It’s fair to have nuanced conversations about excessive bail, but momentum is swinging toward no bail at all. Biden supports an end to cash bail – even as the criminals being released without bail are a big reason we have a crime surge.  

Stop blaming "guns." Biden positioned his anti-crime plan around the myth of easy access to guns, along with shady gun dealers supposedly selling to criminals with wanton abandon. What’s this got to do with the crime surge? Nothing. 

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Biden renewed interest in an "assault weapons" ban, even though handguns are used in the vast majority of murders. He’s on a crusade against so-called ghost guns, which aren’t being used to commit crimes. And he promises to go after unscrupulous gun dealers, as if they’re the ones selling guns to the criminals who use them. 

Guns aren’t the problem; it’s the people using them. Gun laws don’t impact criminals because they ignore them. The only ones impacted are law-abiding citizens left defenseless against criminals. Biden is exploiting the crime surge to fulfill campaign promises to further limit gun rights.  

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