Crime in the US is Increasing: Has the Pendulum Swung too far?

As a resident of Brooklyn, New York, it’s not difficult to read stories about muggings, indiscriminate violence on the subway or murders. It kind of reminds me of what was happening back in the 1970’s. Crime was rampant, murders at record highs and quality of life was terrible. And while we are not even close to the 70’s yet, we are definitely heading in the wrong direction. Crime has increased since the outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio, decided to end many of the policies, that while flawed in some cases, worked best.

Quality of life crime enforcement is just one area where enforcement has basically ceased. Innocent people shouldn’t have to contend with someone wanting to wash their car windows or aggressively panhandling. Turnstile jumping might not seem like a big deal, but clearly, someone who jumps a turnstile probably isn’t the person you want roaming through the subway system. The subway is still one of the best deals in town, so no reason not to pay the fare. It might not seem serious to the average person, but these victimless crimes, are not exactly victimless. It costs the MTA millions of dollars every year that could be used for system improvements and to increase law enforcement below the street. Incoming mayor Eric Adams, former Captain in the NYPD, has stated that he intends to bring back, in a limited way, stop and frisk.

I have been training New York City police officers for many years and many of our students are in law enforcement throughout the country and I would stake my reputation on their incredible dedication to enforcing the law and protecting the innocent. And no matter what anyone says, the Vast Majority of those in law enforcement, want to serve and protect innocent civilians. There are thousands of interactions per day throughout the US and the overwhelming majority don’t end in violence or abuse of power. That’s one of the reasons the cases that do end badly are so publicized. Social media obviously plays a huge roll in the spreading of these stories, which is not a bad thing.

There are some bad cops out there. Derek Chauvin is a murderer and should never have been a cop. What he did to George Floyd was repulsive and disgusting and should have been a death penalty case in my opinion. He had absolutely no regard for human life; George Floyd’s life in this instance. The murder of Briana Taylor should never happen again. I am no fan of the no knock warrants even though I understand why some people support them. And the strangulation death of Eric Garner was just horrible and an excessive use of force. But these cases are not the rule but the extreme exception. And if I’m wrong, someone needs to list hundreds of specific examples, names, in the past month or two in order to prove their case. The generalizations are just simple ways of not having the backup to prove a point. It’s like saying “everyone knows that.” Really? Everyone???

I firmly believe that many positive changes resulted from the above mentioned cases and those changes must continue to be monitored. But in a strange twist, some of those changes have led to an increase in crime throughout the country. The pendulum has swung a little to far in the other direction. Sometimes the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater and that’s never a good thing. It is possible to have quality law enforcement, while not making it too easy for the bad guys. But this is very indicative of the country and times in which we now live. Those on the fringes are making the rules and those of us who sit in the center are not being heard. That needs to change if we’re ever going to live in a place where, as the pledge states, there’s “liberty and justice for all.”

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