Letts: Pro-Police Candidates May Soon Start Winning, But Cops Still Face a Huge Problem
Pro-police candidates may start winning elections in Democrat-controlled cities as the Defund the Police movement cracks under unrealistic expectations.
This is good and bad news for police. It’s good news because citizens in these cities are realizing that the police serve a necessary function in their communities. The bad news is that police will have to prove they are up to the task and reverse crime rates that started rising when police agencies were defunded.
However, they will have to do it with the expectation that with every encounter, particularly violent ones, they will have to proceed as if someone is waiting to criticize them — because someone certainly will be.
Los Angeles Magazine recently published a long article on crime in LA. Throughout the article, the author continually claims that crime in the city isn’t as bad as people think it is and tries to write off the impression that crime is increasing as right-wing spin. One person calls it “paranoia.” Even amid this cover, it becomes obvious the city has a growing crime problem.
“To put it mildly, these are scary times in Los Angeles,” the magazine reported. “Since November, there have been dozens of dramatic smash-and-grab heists at Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, and other high-end stores. … Even in zip codes where violent crime was once unheard of, residents are starting to sweat.”
This article and others like it reveal the media’s goal to protect leftist policies and ignore what is actually happening. According to the magazine, the Los Angeles Times not only called the crime problem “overblown” in a December story, but it later published an editorial “arguing that the supposed crime wave was fake, designed to thwart [District Attorney George Gascón’s] criminal justice reforms.”
This article also reveals fear. Leftists worry that defunding the police was tried and failed, and now it will backfire on them.
The article noted that the feeling of being unsafe is causing people to change the way they are thinking. “And maybe even voting. Otherwise solidly blue liberals, card-carrying NPR listeners who once marched in the BLM protests, have lately been overheard whispering about the need to refund the police and put criminals behind bars,” according to Los Angeles Magazine. “If it goes on like this for much longer, L.A.’s political future could conceivably take a turn for the once-unimaginable.”
Their worry is political, not for safety, and that’s wrong. Violence is increasing, not only against citizens but against police officers. According to the Fraternal Order of Police, 346 officers were shot last year, a record number. Ambush attacks — when officers are shot at without any warning or chance to defend themselves — were up 115 percent in 2021.
Police need to protect themselves physically while at the same time remembering someone is watching, ready to criticize. It’s a narrow line to walk, but if officers behave professionally, they should be able to stay the course. This is important, since increasing crime is driving many citizens to arm themselves. When you have a lot more people with guns (many of whom have never owned a weapon before), a lot more situations will present themselves in which an officer might get shot accidentally or shoot someone accidentally.
Taken all together, there is a silver lining behind the dark cloud of increasing crime. Not only are voters beginning to support police again, but so are politicians.
New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams, is a former police officer. He may lean left, but he certainly isn’t as far left as former Mayor Bill De Blasio. San Francisco’s leftist Mayor London Breed cut $120 million from the police budget last year. In the face of increasing crime in her city, she has already started backtracking and is now refunding the police.
They may be baby steps, but they are baby steps toward getting police the funding and support they need.
If police continue to show they are worthy of that support by reversing the increasing crime rates, they will find their support growing. Nothing increases support quite like success.
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