By Tom Quiner
How do you stop big crime? By stopping small crime first.
This was the model implemented by Rudi Giuliani when he became Mayor of New York City. The results were striking. Liberalism is poised to negate all of the remarkable gains experienced from this “bottom up” approach to crime prevention.
Let’s call it “the Ferguson Effect” which blames the cops for the ills in the Black community.
I remember Giuliani’s impact on New York well. I began traveling regularly to New York City in 1989. I was struck by something amazing. As I drove from LaGuardia Airport to Long Island, I saw abandoned cars everywhere.
I saw cars that were burnt-out carcasses. Some sat on cinder blocks, stripped bare. They had clearly been there a long time.
The city didn’t do anything about it. They let them sit there and pollute the landscape.
It became kind of a game to me. Each trip, I would count how many cars littered the roadside. My New York client wasn’t particularly amused by my ongoing tally of New York decay. I think he felt kind of ashamed knowing the rest of the country wasn’t like this. In a trip in 1993, I remember my count hit thirty-nine abandoned cars along New York expressways.
New York City had been governed by liberal Democrats most of the century. The last Republican was Mayor La Guardia who left office in 1945. (John Lindsay was a liberal Republican who switched parties in the 70s, so I don’t count him as a Republican.)
In a trip to New York in 1995, I noticed the cars were gone. Something had changed. A new mayor, Rudy Giuliani, was in charge. Giuliani inherited a city in decay. Interestingly, he began fixing New York by attacking little things like petty crime. He characterized the decay as a street tax:
“It’s the street tax paid to drunks and panhandlers. It’s the squeegee men shaking down the motorist waiting at a light. It’s the trash storms, the swirling mass of garbage left by peddlers and panhandlers, and open-air drug bazaars on unclean streets.”
And his clean-up of the city included towing junked cars away as a first step toward beautifying a magnificent city.
Under Giuliani, the police even conducted pedestrian stops of people acting suspiciously, sometimes even frisking them.
Little things add up.
The country embraced this approach and violent crime began a two decade decline.
That has come to a stunning halt in the Eric Holder years as Attorney General. Mr. Holder and his fellow liberals were more concerned with racial disparities in incarceration rates than racial disparities in victimization rates.
Here’s the conundrum: blacks are more likely to commit violent crimes; but they are far more likely to be victims of violent crimes. Blacks are 6 times more likely to be murdered than Whites and Hispanics combined; the killers are usually fellow Blacks.
Holder and his minions embrace a sort of reverse affirmative action philosophy, let’s call it “affirmative inaction.” They’ve put pressure on the cops to halt pedestrian stops. They’ve dropped some 95% in New York since 2011.
In parts of the countries, felonies are being downgraded to misdemeanors.
Felons are being released from prisons.
The decriminalization of crime is being accompanied by the criminalization of law enforcement. Cops are being painted as the bad guys when a thug (I know, that is now a politically-incorrect term) tries to beat up a cop, take his gun, and ends up dead himself.
Here’s the fallout: gun violence is up 60% this year in Baltimore.
Homicides are up 180% in Milwaukee this year.
Shootings are up 43% in St. Louis; robberies are up 43%; homicides are up by 25%.
Murders in Atlanta are up 32% this year.
Shootings in Chicago are up 24% over their already sky high rate, and homicides are up by 17%.
Bottom-up law enforcement is politically-incorrect, having been replaced with a blame the system/cops approach.
Now cops are afraid to do their job knowing that the system is ginning for them.
The irony is that the people hurt the most by a return to liberal law enforcement are Blacks who are being victimized more than ever by newly-empowered thugs.