“The Purge” movies may be a product of Hollywood, but the head of Los Angeles’ police union says the movie is becoming reality in his city.
If you’ve never seen the series of horror movies, the premise is this: In order to provide a cathartic pathway through which criminal urges can be relieved, all lawbreaking is allowable for one night a year. This is a dubious premise even for a fictional franchise, but it definitely doesn’t work when you let it happen 365 days a year.
California’s crime problem — and the permissive laws that precipitated it — is no secret to anyone who looks closely enough, but the media generally won’t. (We’re not going to turn a blind eye to progressivism’s failures here at The Western Journal. You can help us shine a light on the failed state of California — and the lessons the rest of the country needs to learn from it — by subscribing.)
In an interview with Fox 11 News on Monday, Jamie McBride — head of the LA Police Protective League, which represents LAPD officers — said crime was enough of a problem in the city he would urge people to stay away.
“It is so violent, we are telling people don’t visit because we don’t think we can keep you safe right now,” McBride said in the Monday interview.
“There’s rampant crime everywhere, and in fact, Los Angeles is like the movie ‘Purge,’ but instead of 24 hours to commit your crime, they have 365 days to go out and commit their crimes,” he continued.
McBride’s remarks came after a series of smash-and-grab robberies hit high-end stores and malls up and down the Golden State, something critics — including the police union chief — have blamed on lax criminal justice policies.
In particular, McBride highlighted zero-bail policies: “Right now you can literally go out, do whatever you want, commit crimes, and you’ll be out faster than the officers can finish the report,” he told Fox. Proposition 47 is a 2014 law enacted via referendum, which reclassified numerous nonviolent property crimes where under $950 was involved as misdemeanors, not felonies.
In July, according to the Associated Press, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill allowing prosecutors to charge individuals arrested for organized retail thefts like smash-and-grabs with felonies if they so choose, although that doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
As KCBS-TV noted, just one day after McBride appeared on Fox, an estimated $100,000 in jewelry was stolen from the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. That came after a series of smash-and-grabs in California and throughout the nation during the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to KTTV, a so-called “flash mob” hit a Home Depot in Lakewood, California on Black Friday.
In Los Angeles, the U.K. Daily Mail reported, a Los Angeles Nordstrom’s was hit with an “organized smash-and-grab” on Thanksgiving eve, netting $5,000 in merchandise.
A CVS pharmacy was hit just an hour later, with thieves taking an $8,000 haul. In Santa Rosa, California, thieves made off with $20,000 from an Apple Store that morning.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, in response to McBride’s criticism, that the city is safe and tourists should come.
“I believe tourists coming to Los Angeles are safe. Certainly, as safe here as any other portion of the country,” Moore said, according to KCBS-TV.
As for the robberies: “It’s not out of control. It’s not a spiral that we’ve lost control over. It is important that we not have a sense of acquiescing or just lackadaisical approach to this. We’re calling out the severity of it,” Moore said.
Other Angelenos and tourists KCBS talked to, however, were calling out the severity of it.
“It’s pretty scary walking at night,” Saran Veenstra said. She moved to Los Angeles from Wisconsin earlier in the year and was surprised at the extent of the crime problem.
“I genuinely thought it would be a safe area. It turned out not be as safe as I thought. I’m definitely, like, carrying something on me every time I leave the house when it’s dark out.”
“We just take Ubers everywhere and don’t walk from place to place,” a tourist told the station. “So, that’s about it.”
While that’s good for ride-hailing, it’s bad for the perception of the city — and California in general, which has become the poster child for every failed social laboratory experiment the left has conducted over the past decade or so. While it’s impossible to point to any one of them in isolation as a proximate cause of the lawlessness, it’s safe to say the confluence of overlapping failed experiments is responsible.
Sure, the idea of a yearlong “Purge” in Los Angeles may be hyperbole. One shudders to think, however, that California Democrats might take McBride’s comparison not as condemnation, but as a suggestion instead.
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