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Philadelphia Braces for Looting as Police Suspend Arrests for Non-Violent Crimes

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A controversial suspension of non-violent arrests has Philadelphia businesses on edge and fortifying against potential looters.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced the suspension of all arrests for certain non-violent crimes Wednesday, according to WTXF-TV.

According to documents acquired by law enforcement journalist Rob O’Donnell, the move suspends arrests for narcotics offenses, theft, burglary, stolen vehicles, fraud and prostitution.

Reaction to the news was swift.

“For the criminals in town, good to know,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted. “For the citizens of Philly, not so much.”

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Businesses, many shuttered by their own choice or by official order, began bracing for a potential spike in theft and looting by fortifying windows and doorways.

Outlaw quickly issued a “clarification” that insisted criminals would be arrested, but the program sounds suspiciously like a catch-and-release policy that does little to deter crime.

Do you think this suspension will cause looting?

“To be clear, the Philadelphia Police Department is not turning a blind eye to crime,” Outlaw wrote. “Persons who commit certain non-violent offenses will be arrested at the scene.”

Criminals “arrested” under this order shouldn’t be discouraged, however.

“Once their identity has been confirmed,” Outlaw continued, “they will be released and processed via arrest warrant.”

According to Outlaw’s clarification, officers are allowed to buck the new changes and bring criminals in on their own discretion. This would require approval from a supervisor, and the individual being detained would have to pose a threat to public safety under the order.

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The Philadelphia Police Department’s own COVID-19 FAQ seems to run counter to Outlaw’s definition of an arrest, hinting that there is some confusion about the new order with those expected to carry it out.

“An arrest occurs when there exists probable cause that a person has committed a crime, and the individual is not free to leave,” the department said.

Even under Outlaw’s clarification, criminals are free to leave after being processed on-scene.

As coronavirus continues to spread in America, it’s unclear if criminals will take advantage of the ongoing disruption to emergency services to break the law.

In Philadelphia, it looks like these lawbreakers have all the incentive they need to run rampant, and none of the punishment to prevent it.

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Jared has written more than 200 articles and assigned hundreds more since he joined The Western Journal in February 2017. He was an infantryman in the Arkansas and Georgia National Guard and is a husband, dad and aspiring farmer.
Jared has written more than 200 articles and assigned hundreds more since he joined The Western Journal in February 2017. He is a husband, dad, and aspiring farmer. He was an infantryman in the Arkansas and Georgia National Guard. If he's not with his wife and son, then he's either shooting guns or working on his motorcycle.
Location
Arkansas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Military, firearms, history




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