I have written several articles law enforcement. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on Law Enforcement.
My question is, why am I having to write this article in the first place? Why am I asking how we should protect ourselves from criminals? What has happened to our country where the police are under attack and we are not even safe in our own homes? It doesn’t seem to matter what neighborhood we live in, either. Jacqueline Avant, L.A. philanthropist was just shot in her Beverly Hills home, she was 81 years old. This has to make you think very seriously about the lawlessness that is taking over our country. Is it by design or is it a result of the gross negligence and incompetence of the left? Is George Soros behind this trend in an effort to destabilize and break up our country? Are the police being targeted because they are the bulwark that keeps our citizens safe and our country whole? Our country is experiencing a crime wave and a state of lawlessness of epidemic proportions. How can we reverse this trend and how can we protect ourselves and our families?
Let us start with how we can take charge of our own safety, because we know that the police are being overwhelmed and they just can’t be protecting everybody, especially with catch and release and no bail spreading throughout our country. It has gotten so bad that we are bribing criminals not to kill and not to break the law.
How to Protect Yourself Against Crime
Experts give advice on ways to fend off criminals — and avoid danger in the first place.
How safe are you? If government statistics are any indication, there’s reason to feel somewhat secure.
The latest U.S. Department of Justice crime figures show personal crimes — which include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault — are at their lowest levels on record. Property crimes — which include burglary, car theft, and theft — have stabilized after years of decline.
Yet this is no time to be complacent. Many criminals prey on people who are off guard, say crime and self-defense specialists who talked with WebMD. Criminals look for people who are not paying attention to their surroundings, and then use the element of surprise to their advantage.
Victims From All Walks of Life
“Criminals don’t want to get caught,” says Tony Farrenkopf, PhD, a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Portland. “They ask themselves, ‘Does this person look attackable? Does this person look vulnerable? Can I get away with something here?'”
In the U.S., criminals were able to carry out 24 million crimes in 2004. For every 1,000 people age 12 and older, there occurred:
- 1 rape or sexual assault
- 2 assaults with injury
- 2 robberies
Regardless of the improved crime rate, crime still affects everyone in all types of neighborhoods; it crosses economic and racial lines, says Larry Jordan, author of The Dirty Dozen: 12 Nasty Fighting Techniques for Any Self-Defense Situation. He is a former member of the U.S. Army Rangers and Special Forces and is a master-level instructor in several forms of martial arts.
Taking Charge of Your Safety
“It is a reality,” Jordan says of crime. “People are being victimized or are being targeted to be victims each and every day.”
To avoid becoming a victim, you need to take charge of your own safety. There are no guarantees, but actively tuning your thoughts and actions toward crime prevention and self-defense can help lower chances of becoming a casualty.
“There’s a saying in the martial arts world that the best form of self-defense is not putting yourself in a position where you have to defend yourself,” says Bill Nelson, a sixth-degree black belt master instructor in Soo Bahk Do Karate, and author of Your Weapon Within: How to Lower the Risk of Sexual Assault. “We all have a responsibility to be safe.”
WebMD has compiled expert advice to show you how to avoid dangerous situations and how to defend yourself once you’re in them. If you regularly practice the recommended ways of thinking and acting, there is hope that you will not become a victim, but rather, an active defender of your life and property.
Preventing crime from happening requires an active mind and body. It means paying attention to your instincts, to other people, and to your surroundings. It means constantly training your brain and limbs to act defensively. It is more than just a few martial arts moves. It is a way of life.
“Security has to be habitual,” says Jordan. “If you allow yourself to get into a lax way of thinking when it pertains to your security, it is very difficult to change that pattern when you find yourself [in not-so-safe situations].”
To clarify his point, Jordan points to security alarms that people have in their homes but do not turn on. The hardware does nothing to thwart burglars if it is not used.
People have an internal alarm as well. It usually tells them they are walking into a bad situation. Yet many ignore it because they have a false sense of security or are in denial that crime can happen to them.
5 Ways to Avoid Danger
To fine-tune your personal alarm, crime experts make the following suggestions:
- Trust yourself. Many times, your eyes, ears, nose, skin, and tongue will give clues indicating that something threatening is ahead. Another powerful indicator, widely known as a sixth sense, can also hint at danger. “Trust when something doesn’t seem right,” advises Nelson.
- Be aware of your surroundings. No matter how safe you think a neighborhood might be, it’s still not a good idea to leave the front door open, your valuables in the car, your purse on top of your office desk, or to flaunt all of your expensive jewelry and other belongings. These actions simply provide temptation and opportunity for offenders, says David Silber, PhD, a consultant psychologist in Washington, D.C. who has worked with police. He also advises against walking through dark, isolated alleys, fields, or parking lots. Bad things happen in “safe” areas all the time. In fact, would-be attackers lurk around places where they can have the opportunity to catch people off guard, and remain anonymous. Again, they usually don’t want to get caught.
- Pay attention to the people around you. This advice is part of both listening to your instincts and being aware of your surroundings. You can often sense peoples’ intentions just by the way they look at you. Heed warning signs even when you are with people you know and trust. In 2004, U.S. Department of Justice statistics show seven in 10 female rape or sexual assault victims stated the offender was an intimate, a relative, a friend, or an acquaintance. Officer Jason Lee, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, says questionable looks from people you know can gradually advance to touching or words that may make you feel uncomfortable. “Tell someone else about the warning signs, someone who can help you, so we can prevent this,” urges Lee.
- Act confident and focused. Just as you can sense people’s feelings, others can sense yours as well. Predators look for people who are meek, mild, weak, unfocused, and distracted. “Criminals are looking for easy pickings. They’re looking for someone who they can take by surprise and will likely not resist,” says Jean O’Neil, director of research and evaluation for the National Crime Prevention Council. She suggests presenting yourself in an assertive manner. When walking down the street, make eye contact with people who look at you. O’Neil says that signals the would-be offender that you are in charge and aware that they are there.
- Understand that alcohol or drugs can cloud judgment. Certain substances can certainly dull your senses and slow down your reaction time to danger. They can also lower other people’s inhibitions and make them more aggressive or belligerent. It is for this reason that Silber says certain places like bars and pubs may present some danger, particularly if they’re crowded. He also says mutual drinking can increase chances of rape or sexual assault among people who know each other.
How to Defend Yourself
Taking steps to prevent crime can help lower chances of an attack, but there are no guarantees of complete safety. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have several plans on how to defend yourself and your property.
“Think through what you will do,” urges Robert McCrie, PhD, professor of security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “Will you willingly give up your wallet or your purse, and if you’re willing to do that, isn’t it a good idea to make a photocopy of all my ID and credit cards and keep it in a safe place? Or will you keep it? What will you do then?”
Some of the plans will depend upon a person’s age, sex, and personal fitness, but McCrie reminds us that even highly-trained FBI agents can get caught off guard and have no qualms about escape as their primary plan.
Fight or Flee?
There is some debate over whether fleeing or fighting back will provide the least risk. Silber, however, says it’s best to err on the conservative side, which is to run away if possible.https://3f7ac1f6e68aadfd77a5b99b0e3a2ca2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
If escape is not an option, Farrenkopf suggests firm resistance, particularly in cases of rape or sexual assault. With people you know, he urges being clear about saying “No” to sex, and to avoid flirting or mixed messages. With both intimates and strangers, he says physically resisting and then escaping is the best option.
Submitting to an attack because of fear does not prevent it, says Farrenkopf. He says surveys and anecdotal evidence show the difference between rapists who have completed rape and those who have attempted it is their victims’ reaction. “In the completed rape, the victim usually froze and submitted,” he says. “In the attempted rape, the victim fought, resisted, and escaped.”
Tips for Escaping or Fighting Back
How do you escape, fight, and survive? Experts offer the following tips:
- Have an escape plan. Wherever you are or wherever you are going, know the layout of the place and visualize an escape route. Thinking this way is not being paranoid, it’s being cautious, says Nelson. If you’re at home, knowing where your power switch is, and knowing your way in the dark, can give you an advantage over intruders. If you’re outside, knowing the layout of the town — where the sketchy areas are, where populated streets and venues are — can help you to both prevent and escape an encounter with an attacker. If you’re at work, knowing the structure of the building can give you an idea where to flee.
- Train your body. You don’t have to have the physique of a football player to defend yourself, but it helps to be in relatively good shape. “How can you rely on yourself if you’re not physically fit?” asks Nelson. “Could you run? Could you kick them? Could you last a little bit in a battle?” Remember, you don’t have to win the fight against an attacker. You just need to be able to survive it. Nelson says people who fight back may have more chance of injury, but they have better chances of survival. “You might get a black eye or a broken arm, but if you don’t get raped, the black eye and the broken arm is going to heal far quicker than the trauma of being raped,” he says.
- React quickly to danger. Response time is critical. Since the offender is counting on a surprise ambush to carry out their crime, you need to use the same element of surprise to escape or counterattack. O’Neil says this could mean running toward lights and people, or it could mean screaming or making noise with whatever you have to get other people’s attention. If you’re grabbed by the wrist, Lee says to try to juggle your hand so that you can pull it away in the area where the attacker’s fingers can open up. If escaping is not an option, Jordan says a quick and efficient self-defense is key. “If you’re just flailing about, you may be ineffectively exerting energy, and that will cause you to question what you’re doing,” says Jordan. He recommends striking only at vital targets, which are areas of the body where you can inflict the most pain and damage. This will likely make it easier to disable the offender and get away. Some vital targets include the top center of the skull, eyes, temples, ears, windpipe, knees, insteps, base of skull, and spine.
For more information about how to defend yourself and avoid crime, check out classes that are often available at schools, local community centers, local martial arts facilities, and hospitals. McCrie also recommends checking out books on self-defense and talking with your local crime prevention officer.
With our thoughts and actions focused on crime prevention and protection, we can hopefully do our best to make our part of the world a safer place to live.
While this is all great information, it is crazy that we are having to earn it in the first place. It is like we are back in the wild west where we have to fight the indians and the outlaws.
Don’t Let Government and Big Corporations Control How We Live, Time to Thinking for Ourselves and Take Control of our Own Lives
Many people now realise that the majority of our politicians are nothing more than puppets for the global Elite and big corporations like Big Pharma and Monsanto. It is also clear to many of us that the main stream media cannot be trusted. As our economy is being destroyed by design, our health is suffering due to the unhealthy food that is being pushed on us and we are having less and less say in the running of our own lives, the question is what can we do about it?
Mahatma Gandhi said:
“Be the change you want to see in the world”.
To me this is the best way in which we can fight back against what is happening. We have to stop supporting these big corporations. Take Monsanto for example, we give them power by buying their products. While buying organic and non GM products might cost a bit more it would defiantly hurt Monsanto if the majority started boycotting their products. While I realise that money is tight for most people, is it not worthwhile spending that bit extra when it can not only help safeguard your family’s future but also improve their health. If we cannot stop the likes of Monsanto getting a monopoly on the food we eat then that bit extra you have to pay to buy organic will seem like peanuts compared to what Monsanto will make us pay in both money and our health when they have that monopoly.https://6d7223c32794e43418ad69c8f47e7b34.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
If you want to learn the truth about Monsanto then I would recommend watching the below documentary “The World According To Monsanto” at the end of this article
It is the same principle when you look at the amount of jobs that have been lost in our country because corporations find it cheaper to use sweatshops in poor countries. The question is have we really benefited from the use of sweatshops? While it helps corporations manufacture their products cheaply, on the other hand it damages the economy by taking away jobs from our own country. This has led to high unemployment figures and an increase in poverty. There is also the moral issue of whether it is right that these corporations are allowed make a profit on the backs of human suffering as is the case with those who have to endure working in these sweatshops.
What would happen if the majority started boycotting these corporations that use sweatshops? I am sure that once they realise that we are no longer putting up with their greed and immoral practices they would soon be forced to change the way they operate. It would also mean unfortunately that we would have to do without the designer gear and gadgets that many would not be willing to live without despite the grim future we are facing.
By changing the way we live and think we can make an impact on what’s happening today. Everything that is happening today has happened because we have let it happen. Too many people live in ignorance happy to let others deal with the problems we are facing. While the majority continue to live in this manner things are only going to get worse. We cannot rely on our political system to fix the economy and all the other problems we are facing. But we can make a change through our own actions. By educating ourselves on what is healthy to eat instead of relying on what corporations and our government tell us, we can start to take control of our own lives. This can be achieved through visiting sites like natural news and by learning what really is going on in the food industry. By doing this I am sure that what you learn will not only shock and alarm you but also convince you to change your diet.
By supporting local organic farms and shops that supply organic products we can make sure that the likes of Monsanto will always have competition and we will have a choice in what we eat and a say in our own health.
It is also important to be educated on the real facts behind the pharmaceutical industry who are also trying to get rid of any competition. A recent leaked letter from a UK academic, Professor Elizabeth Williamson (a pharmacist from Reading University), to the UK Health Minister reveals how they are going about this. In the letter the academic complains that the UK medicines agency isn’t cracking down on botanical food supplements. She appears to take the position of the large phytopharmaceutical companies who have got licenses and want competition from food supplements removed.
Because of the EU herb directive we have already seen many natural alternatives to prescription drugs being taken of the shelves in Europe due to safety concerns. Considering that about10,000 people each year die in the UK from bad reactions to prescription drugs whereas very few have died from taking food supplements or herbal remedies, this makes no sense.
We are constantly fed disinformation so that these corporations and the people behind them can have total control over us. By seeing through their lies we can take the first steps to gaining back control of our lives.
Unfortunately while the majority still believe what they are told by the main stream media and our traitorous government things will only get worse. I believe real change is coming as more people are being forced to wake up to the truth, but the real question is how much more suffering will we have to endure before the majority decide that they have had enough?
Fund the police, defund the politicians
by Josh Mandel
If Democrats don’t stop defunding the police officers who keep us safe, then legislators need to defund the Democrats.
I recently met with police officers from the Columbus Police Department, and what they told me was both shocking and deeply distressing. Put simply, officers are increasingly afraid to do their jobs.
It’s not that they fear for their own safety, per se — these are some of the bravest individuals I’ve ever met. But they’re also smart enough to read between the lines, and they can see that local political leaders don’t support them and don’t have their backs. Under those conditions, it becomes even riskier to do an already dangerous job.
Politicians are implementing policies that directly encourage criminality, making it more difficult for officers to take the sorts of actions they know from training and experience are necessary to protect the community. The officers I spoke with told me that Columbus has decriminalized certain crimes, resulting in an explosion of crime and homelessness. The politicians behind these policies may think they’re compassionate, but the real-world consequences show the exact opposite is true.
Being homeless doesn’t make someone a bad person, but it’s undeniably true there is a criminal element in any homeless population. Police officers say the people they interact with increasingly don’t want to be helped or taken to a shelter, and decriminalization deprives officers of the opportunity to get people off the street before they commit crimes — and before they become the victims of crimes.
City officials nationwide are also starving the police of resources. Officers have told me their cruisers are in terrible shape and other equipment is outdated, putting them at a disadvantage relative to the criminals they confront. Somehow, though, politicians simultaneously expect departments to find a way to equip officers with body cameras, diverting resources that could be used to ensure they have the tools to protect both the public and themselves properly.
The anti-police mentality goes beyond city halls. The actions and rhetoric of Democratic officials and leftist activists send a strong message to young people, and they’re receiving it loud and clear.
The student government at Ohio State University, for instance, has demanded the university stop cooperating with the Columbus Police Department. Adding insult to injury, the letter from student leaders implicitly accused the very officers who protect students from rapes, assaults, and murders of racism, declaring their mere presence on campus somehow endangers black students. This is ridiculous on its face, not to mention how insulting and degrading it is to the men and women in blue who risk their lives every single day to protect these young entitled punks.
The consequences of this institutional hostility toward police will only grow more severe with time. Young people who grow up in an anti-police society are more likely to view officers as a threat, rather than public servants who are there to protect and serve. This, in turn, will make policing more difficult and dangerous than it already is while discouraging citizens from sharing information that could help police keep people safe. It is a vicious cycle that begins with political posturing and rhetoric and ends with mayhem in the streets.
State and federal lawmakers don’t have the power to make decisions at the local level, nor should they. They do, however, have significant leverage over local officials in the form of funding, which local politicians use to provide popular services to constituents without having to impose unpopular new taxes.
If Democratic city officials decide to defund the police, legislators should respond by defunding the Democrats in City Hall.
DEFUNDING POLICE, THE REVERSE OF WHAT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEEDS
What is meant here is that they will take much needed money from the police department and shift it to other departments. We need for the police department to stay up to date on equipment and purchase new types of equipment as it comes out to stay the best. They are doing work that can have their life end in a moment or injured to a point where they lose their career.
Our police department here in Somerville has not had problems like some of the rest of the country. Looking around it appears we also need to be increasing our police force. But this has to come from the police department on what their needs are. Certainly not council members who have no clue what these people need or should have. In these bad times there looks to be much for them to do.
Traffic enforcement for one. That would look like one thing to increase to cut down on the drivers and bikers that do not obey the rules but make it dangerous here. For money we should be looking into the many extra things this city spends so much on that is not needed. We are in a bad state of problems right now and probably will be for quite a while.
And I expect that we are going to see many increases to make up for lost revenue at a time when people are out of work and many are facing losing their homes as they simply cannot hang on for so long. We need to be helping them also. Let’s look for wasted money which is not hard to see. And leave the police alone. We are lucky to have a good department so let’s not screw this up. I am watching other cities actually increasing funds for the police. Why is it they can’t see this?
My own experiences with the police department has shown they have a lack of equipment and manpower. So I know first hand they are not all sitting down at a donut shop all day doing nothing. As much as we like to make fun of them. Let’s defund non essential services starting within the council itself. I have been in this city for over 70 years and have never seen things so bad as this council unwilling to do their job and work for the people and do what the majority wants. And to just take and make our decisions for us just defies what this country was built on.
This needs to end. If the council members are not going to work for the people of Somerville then do the right thing and hand in your resignation. That would be the right thing to do. And work with the police, not against them. Maybe you don’t need them but we certainly do.
Clyburn says ‘nobody is going to defund the police,’ calls for ‘reimagining’ of law enforcement
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., made it clear on Sunday that despite the public rancor following the protests over the recent deaths of African-Americans involving law enforcement, Congress will not make moves to defund police departments.
Clyburn, the House majority whip, instead said he would push for a “reimagining” of law enforcement in the country.
“I would simply say, as I have always said, nobody is going to defund the police,” Clyburn said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Clyburn’s comment put him firmly in line with almost every Democrat in both chambers of Congress, as well as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden. While top Democrats have called for major overhauls to police departments following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., among others, they have come out in force against defunding police departments entirely.
“We can restructure the police forces, restructure, reimagine policing,” Clyburn said. “That is what we are going to do. The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play. What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in.”
The “Defund The Police” movement came to the forefront of the national conversation amid the protests following the deaths of Floyd and Taylor. The idea behind the movement has varied between completely abolishing police departments to relocating the amounts of funding many departments received to other social programs.
Groups like Black Lives Matter have argued it’s not necessarily about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They have said it’s time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the U.S. have needed, including better housing and education.
State and local governments spent some $115 billion on policing in 2017, according to data compiled by the economic-policy think tank Urban Institute.
“Why can’t we look at how it is that we reorganize our priorities, so people don’t have to be in the streets during a national pandemic?” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza asked during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Instead of defunding police departments, the House last week proposed a far-reaching overhaul of police procedures and accountability, saying their proposal would not eliminate police departments — a decision for cities and states — but establish new standards and oversight.
The Justice in Policing Act, the most ambitious law enforcement reform from Congress in years, confronted several aspects of policing that have come under strong criticism, as in-custody deaths have been captured on cellphone video and shared widely across the nation and around the world.
The package would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police chokeholds, among other changes.
It also would revise the federal criminal police misconduct statute to make it easier to prosecute officers involved in “reckless” misconduct and would change “qualified immunity” protections to enable damage claims more broadly against police in lawsuits.
In addition, the legislation would ban racial profiling, boost requirements for police body cameras and limit the transfer of military equipment to local jurisdictions.
Is criminal justice reform to blame for the rise in crime in NYC?
Homicides and gun violence are up in New York City and other places across the country. While some blame this on criminal justice reform, advocates say it’s too early to know, given the nation is still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. Christopher Booker sat down with Jullian Harris-Calvin of the Vera Institute of Justice for more.
- Hari Sreenivasan: Homicides and gun violence are up in New York City and many other places across the country compared to two years ago. Some blame the uptick on criminal justice reform, but advocates say it is far too early to tease out exactly what is driving the surge. Especially as the country is still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. For more, News Hour Weekend’s Christopher Booker sat down with Jullian Harris-Calvin of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York, a nearly 60 year old advocacy organization focused on criminal justice reform.
- Christopher Booker: Can you put the recent increase in violent crime into context within New York City in the last 30 years?
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: Yes. So the increase in gun and homicide violence is an increase compared to the last two or three years. It is still 70 percent below what we were seeing in the 90s and somewhere around 50 percent below what we were seeing in the early 2000s. So there is an increase and it matters, but it is not this dramatic crime wave. Rapes are are down, larceny is down, burglary is down. All of the other things we think about, those are down despite the craziness of the last year and all the instability and the pain and suffering that’s happened in this last year, all of those other categories are still at 2019 lows. And so you’re right that we need to kind of draw back and look at the big picture and the context and the context is we’re still doing much better than we were a decade ago or even five years ago.
- Christopher Booker: What’s your reaction then when you hear New York Governor Andrew Cuomo say quote ‘we have a major crime problem’
- NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Of all the things we have to do when we’re talking in New York City, specifically, crime, crime, crime are the top three.
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: We do not have a major crime problem, we do have a problem, which is that murders are still happening, whether it’s below or above the murder rate from last year or the year before. We’re not saying that there shouldn’t be a response to any kind of crime. Right. That there should it be we shouldn’t be taking notice of the uptick in. And murders, but the real issue for us is what is the correct response
- Christopher Booker: Harris-Calvin points to a number of community based violence prevention programs, like violence interrupters, which send community members to immediately meet with shooting victims to try to avoid retaliation, but the pandemic and the need for social distancing put many of these programs on hold. In New York some have blamed the recent uptick in violence on sweeping sweeping criminal justice reforms enacted in 2020. Most notably, bail reform. The law eliminated cash bail and pretrial detention for nearly all misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases But given the short length of time its been in practice and the pandemic, which led to many prisoners being released to prevent the spread of covid, Harris-Calvin says it is way too early to draw any correlation between the reforms and the recent uptick in gun violence and homicides.
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: It’s going to take us years to really look at both the quantitative, but the qualitative data around not just the spike in these two kinds of crimes, but just all of the fallout and all of the myriad consequences that have come about because of the pandemic. You know, a lot of people have tried to blame criminal justice reform, bail reform, our massive decarceration both in New York City, but across across the state. But when you look across the country, gun violence and murders have risen and blue states, red states, urban areas and rural and so. Urban areas, this is something that’s happening across the country, which is another reason why it’s going to take a while for us to really assess what exactly led to this and there’s no one factor. There’s never one factor.
- Christopher Booker: What do you think this does to the broader efforts to reform criminal justice?
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: It really harms that, right. It’s really putting, excuse me, a damper on those reform efforts and threatening to roll them back. Between the time that bail reform was passed and the rollbacks came around where the fear mongering came around just after January 20 20, there’s no data to support that. You know, there were folks who were being released on bail reform and and we’re still debating or creating new crimes.
- Christopher Booker: But it’s happening across the country. It does seem quite remarkable that this has reached kind of chorus level across the country so quickly.
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: The problem is folks are scared, right? Because we’ve just come out of this period of immense instability, insecurity in terms of health and economics and all the other intersections that have arisen from the pandemic and when we see that there is the rise in shootings and homicides, which is still far fewer, something like 70 percent fewer than what we were experiencing in the 90s. Right, but they see that happening and people want quick and easy responses to very complex, nuanced problems and I pushed back on using these quick talking points because I think we folks try to force us into being like, just give us the thing you need to do. Give us do we need to find violence interrupters? Do we need to find housing? Do we need to find education? And the answer is you need to do all of that.
- Christopher Booker: Are you optimistic?
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: I am optimistic
- Christopher Booker: You are, why?
- Jullian Harris-Calvin: Because as we’ve seen, even when the pendulum kind of shifts back and forth, we’re still moving closer to a more fair and more just a more equitable system., there’s still two and a half million folks in this country who are incarcerated. And that is more than there were 30, 40, 50 years ago. But even people who use used tough on crime rhetoric and even folks that are using some of these racial undertones will acknowledge that going back to the 90s is not the answer. And I think that is huge progress.
How Leftist Prosecutors Contributed To 2020’s Massive Crime Spike
The number of homicides in the United States increased around 30 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported last week, along with a 5.6 percent increase in violent crime in the same period.
This is no wonder, when prosecutors across the country have ceased prosecuting in the name of racial and economic equity. From Los Angeles and San Francisco to the Eastern seaboard, city attorneys are declining to prosecute cases, denying justice to victims, and creating dangerous cities.
Just as critical race theory has bled out of the big cities into small and unsuspecting jurisdictions, so too might prosecutors with visions of “reimagining” the criminal justice system come to a town near you.
Seattle’s Singularly Extreme Approach
Seattle deserves special recognition for its failure to provide even basic law and order, and things may be about to get worse as the city votes in November for a new city attorney. Responsible for prosecuting misdemeanors, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office has become a leftist experiment lab under Pete Holmes.
In 2019, Holmes’s office “declined to file charges in nearly half of non-traffic-related criminal cases, and of the cases it does charge, 42% did not have a meaningful resolution,” King 5 News reported. By the end of October 2020, his office had declined 143 of the 261 protest-related misdemeanor cases referred by the Seattle Police Department, NPR reported.
Last summer, the life of prolific offender Travis Berge came to a violent end – a tragic example of how Holmes’ leadership failed Berge and continues to fail Seattle. The notorious meth addict, who had boasted openly that he had beat the criminal justice system, had been arrested 47 times, racked up 35 convictions and violations, killed his partner, and then drowned himself in a tank of bleach. Instead of protecting Berge and his victims, the city of Seattle turned a blind eye, resulting in two needless deaths.
The situation in Seattle may soon go from bad to worse, as voters seem poised to replace a non-prosecuting prosecutor with a candidate who has actively encouraged criminal behavior. Holmes, city attorney since 2009, conceded a three-way primary race in August to his competitors: law-and-order moderate candidate Ann Davison and punishment opponent Nicole Thomas-Kennedy.
“I would like to abolish most of the criminal legal system,” Thomas-Kennedy told Fox13, “but it is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
As the city faces a 3,000 municipal court case backlog, Thomas-Kennedy would scale back prosecuting to even greater extremes. The Seattle attorney’s office “should immediately stop prosecuting nearly all misdemeanors – especially ‘civility’ crimes like trespass and petty theft,” she told The Urbanist weeks before the primary.
Worse still, she has made comments that appear to overtly encourage violent and illegal behavior. At the height of the riots following the death of George Floyd in 2020, Thomas-Kennedy tweeted, “Property destruction, at this point, is a moral imperative.” She has since deleted the tweet and, when confronted by a local journalist, waved it off as a joke.
Even traditional liberals see the dangers of electing someone like Thomas-Kennedy. Most recently, two former Democratic governors of Washington State – Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke – endorsed Davison. In a statement about her endorsement of the Republican Davison, Gregoire told Fox13 News that she couldn’t throw her support behind “a person who believes in anarchy” (referencing Thomas-Kennedy).
The dismal reality is that, combined, the non-prosecutor Holmes and the penalty-abolitionist Thomas-Kennedy received more than 66 percent of the Seattle vote. Moderate Davison, who wants to focus instead on enforcing the law and providing alternative support for those suffering from mental illness and drug addiction, received 33 percent. Seattle voters should think long and hard before reflexively supporting Thomas-Kennedy.
Reimagining Criminal Justice Across America
Seattle’s situation, although extreme, is not unique. The criminal justice system in cities across America is being hijacked by prosecutors who will do anything but prosecute. This dangerous trend denies justice to victims and creates cities flourishing with crime.
Boston District Attorney Rachael Rollins, for instance, published a memo in 2019 listing 15 misdemeanors her office would automatically decline to prosecute, including shoplifting, trespassing, and wanton or malicious destruction of property. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner released a similar memo. Steve Descano, the commonwealth’s attorney in Fairfax, Virginia, followed suit, as have others.
“As a group, they see the police as the enemy, and criminal defendants as victims,” write the Heritage Foundation’s Charles “Cully” Stimson and Zack Smith. “In practice, their policies harm the very people they pretend to care about the most: low income and minority individuals.”
The results of these policies are sobering. “In a survey of six jurisdictions where progressive district attorneys serve, every city or county logged a lower overall felony-conviction rate, as well as a lower conviction rate for violent or serious crimes, than did their predecessors,” writes Jason Johnson at City Journal. “On average, the profiled prosecutors dropped 20 percent more felony cases. Crime has risen dramatically.”
Your Locality Isn’t Immune
Lest you think your own locality is immune from such extremism, remember that the insidious and false “equity” ideas of critical race theory are being discovered throughout America’s schools, governments, and corporations – not just isolated to big, liberal cities like Seattle and L.A. Critical race theory has also made its way into the Midwest, the South, and widely used companies like Bank of America and Verizon. What starts among elites and in big cities too often spreads to the rest of the country, whether the general public desires it or not.
What might the solution be? It starts with an active and well-informed citizenry. The parental uprisings against teaching critical race theory in K-12 schools provide a suitable example of how concerns about malfeasance in the public sector can lead to decisive grassroots action. If you haven’t already been doing so, start paying attention to what is happening in your city government and local elections. Inform yourself on every candidate, their backgrounds, and their objectives.
Then, take action. Discuss your findings with your friends and neighbors. Attend public city meetings. Voice your opinion in those meetings. Vote accordingly. These prosecutors are elected by you, the general public, and it is you who holds the power to replace them with officials who will uphold the rule of law.
Five ways to reduce crime
How to Fix the Federal Criminal Justice System (in Part)
People often talk about reforming “the criminal justice system.” But there is no single such system in the United States. When counting state and local jurisdictions, there are really thousands of “systems,” all with their own distinct challenges.
Improving them takes work on the local, state, and federal levels. Given that federal prisons hold just over 12 percent of the national prison population, federal justice reform might seem like it should be a low priority. But it still holds more than any single state, making federal reform a vitally important step on the path to ending mass incarceration. And mandatory minimum sentences, which are often applied to drug cases, can create uniquely unjust outcomes.
To understand how to fix these problems, it’s important to know what makes the federal justice system different in the first place.
Different cases, different priorities
The most common crimes, such as assault and theft, are generally prosecuted by cities, counties, and states. Federal law enforcement handles a narrower set of issues, like crimes that cross state lines or involve federal law. (For how to address the issues facing state criminal justice systems.
It’s no surprise, then, that the federal prison population looks different than the states’. Nearly half of all people in federal prison are incarcerated for drug offenses, compared to just 15 percent in state prisons — the product of a Supreme Court case allowing Congress to exercise broad regulatory authority over drugs, and a series of laws where Congress did just that. People convicted of weapons offenses — 19 percent of people in federal prison — make up another large part of the federal prison population, as do those held on immigration offenses, comprising 6 percent. Comparatively, more than half of those in state prison are incarcerated for crimes classified as violent, like assault and robbery.
The unique role of federal sentencing
Perhaps surprisingly, stays in federal prison are generally shorter than those in state prisons: an average of about 4 years in federal prison compared to about six-and-a-half years in state facilities. But some federal offenses carry significant, often inflexible penalties. This is due to the prevalence of “mandatory minimums” in the federal system — laws requiring that upon conviction of a certain offense, the defendant must be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment.
Mandatory minimum penalties figure especially prominently in drug cases. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an agency with an important but advisory say in how federal crimes are sentenced, around half of all drug offenders in FY 2018 were subject to a mandatory minimum at sentencing. More generally, around a quarter of all federal cases triggered a mandatory minimum that year.
These penalties tend to fall hardest on people of color: focusing again on FY 2018, roughly 70 percent of offenders convicted of a crime carrying a mandatory minimum were Black or Latino. To be sure, these mandatory punishments aren’t unique to the federal system. New York imposes minimum penalties for many felonies, for example. But given the federal government’s outsized role in drug enforcement, federal mandatory minimums have become synonymous with the drug war.
Mandatory minimums empower federal prosecution
Mandatory minimum penalties also give prosecutors significant power over the sentence a defendant ultimately receives. If a prosecutor charges a defendant with a crime carrying a mandatory minimum, the judge’s hands are tied: the court will not be able to impose a sentence below the one required by statute, preventing any judicial consideration of mercy. Knowing this, federal prosecutors can (and do, as NYU Law professor and sentencing expert Rachel Barkow writes) at times leverage the threat of a mandatory minimum to induce plea bargains and cooperation.
While it’s not unique to the federal system, this is an important dynamic in federal drug enforcement, and helps explain some recent debates around federal criminal justice policy. In May 2017, for example, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that instructed federal prosecutors to consider charging some drug offenses in a way that wouldn’t trigger a mandatory minimum. Sessions argued that reversing the rule would restore “tools” that prosecutors need to “dismantle drug trafficking enterprises,” an oblique reference to using the threat of mandatory minimums to induce cooperation. On the other hand, this change took one path to prosecutorial mercy off the table, meaning people would likely face longer prison sentences.
Again, many state prosecutors enjoy comparable discretion. But the length and prevalence of federal mandatory minimums makes the problem especially stark in the federal system. And, the federal Bureau of Prisons remains the nation’s largest incarcerator, magnifying the impact of unfair federal penalties.
Different bail and pretrial detention practices
In some areas the federal system is ahead of the states. Most jurisdictions use cash bail, where people accused of a crime remain in jail until trial unless they pay a certain amount of money (or have a bail bondsman pay that amount, for a hefty fee). Functionally, this system ties someone’s freedom to their ability to pay for it.
Originally, that was how the federal system worked too. “All too often we imprison men for weeks, months, and even years,” President Lyndon Johnson said, “solely because they cannot afford bail.” The Bail Reform Act of 1966 changed that, sweeping the old system aside and making pretrial release the default for most federal crimes.
Some Reagan-era changes narrowed that rule. But today, money bail is rarely used in federal courts. If the government can prove someone is dangerous or poses a flight risk, they can be detained pending trial. Otherwise, conditions are set to ensure they return to court. Pretrial supervision may also be ordered, in which case a pretrial service officer may check in on someone accused of a crime, ensure compliance with any release conditions, and remind them of their required court appearances.
Federal pretrial release isn’t perfect, but it’s well ahead of where many of the states are today. It also offers ongoing proof that cash bail isn’t necessary to preserve public safety — something state reform advocates can point to in their own work.
What reform must accomplish
Between the huge number of people locked up in the federal justice system and the unfair sentences some are serving in it, reforming the federal justice system is an imperative that we simply cannot ignore. But any proposals must be tailored to the unique role of the federal government in the national criminal justice infrastructure.
Last year saw a major reform bill enacted: the First Step Act, which cut some federal drug sentences and sought to improve conditions in federal prison. But the law is what it claims to be: just a first step in a much longer process. Other changes — like modernizing the federal clemency process and diverting people who commit lower-level crimes to alternatives to incarceration — will also be necessary to improve the federal justice system and the lives of the people caught up in it.
Easy Ways To Strengthen Your Community And Prevent Crime In Your Area
Being the victim of a crime can leave you feeling helpless, hopeless and powerless. Fortunately, you don’t have to stuff yourself into a spandex costume and run across rooftops beating up bad guys to do your part to prevent crime.
There are many simple actions the average person can take to help protect themselves and their neighbors from being the victim of a crime. With just a little time and effort, you can take control of your neighborhood and keep yourself safe from criminals.
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15 easy ways to prevent crime in your community
1) Learn about local agencies or nonprofit organizations that already exist in your community. This is a great place to find the support and resources you may need.
2) Connect people in the community (especially youth) to activities or programs that help them find positive ways to spend their spare time. After school programs, tutoring centers, part-time work, and volunteer opportunities go a long way toward keeping youths and adolescents away from negative influences.
3) Set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol that works in collaboration with local police. A trusted neighbor who keeps a vigilant eye on your home is one of the best crime deterrents there is.
4) Build a partnership with police focused on solving problems instead of reacting to crisis. Make it possible for neighbors to report suspicious activity or crimes without fear of retaliation.
5) Clean up the neighborhood! Organizing a neighborhood clean up is great way to get people out of the house, and working together around a common cause. Buildings with broken windows, abandoned cars, and even litter sends a message to criminals that the community has become complacent. Call the city public works department and ask for help cleaning up.
6) Get creative. Ask your local city council to pass an anti-noise ordinance, update housing codes, and include drug-free clauses in rental agreements. These small actions help to create an inhospitable environment for criminals, and will hopefully cause them to leave on their own.
7) Work with schools in your area to establish (and enforce) drug-free, gun-free zones. You can also collaborate with recreation officials to do the same for parks.
8) Create and distribute a list of local organizations that can provide counseling, job training, guidance, and other services that could benefit people in the community.
9) Report suspicious activity to police. Cooperate by providing statements and witness testimony if you have information that could lead to the apprehension of a criminal.
10) Locate crisis centers, support groups, and service hotline numbers and make these resources available to victims of crime. Find out how you can help those who have been affected by violence to recover as quickly and completely as possible.
11) Refuse to turn a blind eye to crime in your community.
12) Suggest that law enforcement host a gun buyback event that lets people turn in unlicensed firearms for cash, no questions asked. Former Jersey City mayor, Jerramiah Healy, credited their buyback program as a major reason for the city’s record-low homicide rate.
13) Start a weekly discussion group. It can be as minimal as a regular gathering at a neighbor’s house to share ideas and communicate with each other about what you see going on in the community. This also provides great opportunities to update your neighbors on your current schedule, or let them know if you’ll be out of town.
14) Express support for funding and effective implementation of community wellness programs and events by writing to elected officials in your city.
15) Help to connect school services to outside networks of community services that can help students and their families cope with domestic or financial problems.
Sometimes the right combination of networking, organizing, and communicating can have a huge impact on our surroundings. You don’t have to give up all your free time, or perform nightly patrols around the perimeter of your neighborhood to prevent crime in your community. A little effort can go a long way!
I hope that this article has given the reader information on how not only we can take charge of our own destiny and how to protect ourselves, but also what needs to be done at a federal and state level to reduce crime in our country.
webmd.com, “How to Protect Yourself Against Crime: Experts give advice on ways to fend off criminals — and avoid danger in the first place.” By Dulce Zamora; wakeup-world.com, “Don’t Let Government and Big Corporations Control How We Live, Time to Thinking for Ourselves and Take Control of our Own Lives.” By David Noble; washingtonexaminer.com, “Fund the police, defund the politicians.” by Josh Mandel; thesomervillenewsweekly.org, “DEFUNDING POLICE, THE REVERSE OF WHAT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEEDS.” By Arthur Moore; foxnews.com, “Clyburn says ‘nobody is going to defund the police,’ calls for ‘reimagining’ of law enforcement.” By Andrew O’Reilly; pbs.org, “Is criminal justice reform to blame for the rise in crime in NYC?” By Christopher Booker and Sam Weber; wealthandpovert.center, “How Leftist Prosecutors Contributed To 2020’s Massive Crime Spike: Prosecutors across the country have ceased prosecuting certain crimes in the name of racial and economic equity and social justice. This dangerous trend denies justice to victims and increases crime.” By CAITLIN BASSETT; urban.org, “Five ways to reduce crime.” By Shebani Rao and Nancy G. La Vigne; paperowls.com, “Three Problems of the Criminal Justice System and How to Fix Them;” brennancenter.org, “How to Fix the Federal Criminal Justice System (in Part).” By Ames Grawert; instantcheckmate.com, “Easy Ways To Strengthen Your Community And Prevent Crime In Your Area: 15 Ways to Safeguard Your Neighborhood.” By Amber Warren;
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