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A National Crime Crisis

June 28, 2021
Weekly Columns

For more than a year, dangerous crimes in cities across the country have spiked tremendously, and Americans have watched their communities become less and less safe. Even more worrisome, crime is expected to get worse in the coming months as budgets for police departments are continuing to be cut and dangerous rhetoric against our brave men and women in blue is spread.

Last year, 63 of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes, according to a report from the Major Cities Chiefs Association. This comes as the same big cities were cutting funding for and dismantling their police departments.

We also saw police recruiting suffer and many officers resigned due to anti-law enforcement activism across the country after the horrific death of George Floyd last May. Just last month, Jack Rinchich, president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, claimed that departments nationwide have struggled to retain and recruit police officers due to their demoralization. It is virtually impossible to keep communities safe when there are not enough law enforcement officers to do so.

The fact that the U.S. Justice Department has also taken a relaxed approach to crime and keeping bad actors off the streets does not help either. For months, dangerous criminals took over and destroyed cities like Portland and Seattle. Today, we are seeing cases against these same people being dropped. The Biden Administration must show that they will be tough on crime.

Last week, President Biden addressed our nation’s crime crisis in a press conference, where he blamed it on law-abiding firearm owners. However, just this January, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System completed more than four million background checks, marking the start of 2021 with the highest number of checks conducted in a one-month period. This shows that America’s background check system works, and Americans are buying firearms from licensed dealers. President Biden cannot blame this on lawful gun owners and must take responsibility for his party’s destructive messaging and failed liberal policies such as “Defund the Police.”

Furthermore, President Biden and Democrats are also supporting efforts, such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, that would tie the hands of police officers nationwide and enforce one-size-fits-all solutions. While Republicans and Democrats agree that police reform is necessary, federal legislation must ensure that good officers can do their jobs effectively, while protecting themselves and others.

After many conversations with police chiefs across the Fourth District, I know firsthand that they are in favor of reforms that will make policing more accountable. However, we cannot limit the ability of police officers to protect themselves and the communities they serve.

The United States is a country of law and order and during the crime crisis our nation is facing, the president and leaders of these cities should not be turning a blind eye to crime and disorder. Ensuring safe communities is not a right versus left issue and should be a top priority for all lawmakers at federal and local levels of government.