The social experiment with human life is over. The mayor of the San Francisco extermination police, London Breed, just made a 180 on Lombard Street. I hope the New York City Council notices, but I doubt it. There are lessons to learn and pitfalls to avoid.
San Francisco embarked on a path to serious damage to police, funding other agencies last year, and things did not go well. Its police department shrank, and violence, theft, outdoor drug trafficking and overdose deaths skyrocketed.
So now, the frustrated mayor has announced – in all clear words – her plan to reinvest in the police and get tough on criminals. What a novel idea.
Refinancing the police movement is not new. Cities like Oakland, Portland and (ready for it?) Minneapolis are now scrambling to retain police and replace those who have left.
Lesson learned: Cops matter; Experiments with human life are dangerous.
Unfortunately, the departments in those cities, and many like them, will not be able to regain the lost aggregate experience. Hiring a bunch of new cops simply won’t make an immediate change.
And Mayor Breed has a big obstacle in her way in trying to turn the tide: District Attorney Chesa Boudin. The San Franciscans accuse Boudin of being soft on crime, and he is currently facing revocation. Indeed, he became the poster kid for petty crime DAs and is often singled out by hardline politicians across the country. Voting has consequences, and so do policies.
New York City is also going down a similar path, after toppling the NYPD last year and handcuffing the police. However, it is not too late to turn the tide.
Start with some immediate tweaks to New York’s criminal-judicial reform law. First, reframe the time frame for an attorney to participate in the discovery. It then removes the suspects’ access to crime scenes and gives judges the power to decide whether to keep potentially dangerous defendants or, at the very least, force them to register on bail.
Once Eric Adams becomes mayor, he needs to have a sober talk with the city’s district attorneys – and read them the Riot Act. The upcoming Manhattan Project, Alvin Bragg has posted a list of crimes he will not prosecute. Adams should make it clear that tolerating the law has consequences for any DA – look at Boudin.
The truth is, it’s a matter of deterrence. Criminals are opportunists; if they are not deterred, they will take advantage of your leniency. We can’t have defense attorneys masquerading as DA.
Victims and their families are furious, and it shows. Want to know the definition of irony? The anti-police mob has just helped elect a former police officer, Adams, the mayor of New York City. Adams wanted to bring back plain-clothes units and usher in a new era of pause, question, and agility. He also chooses a new cop boss who believes in executing quality-of-life crimes.
All of that has brought him into the ranks of Black Lives Matter, and I can only imagine what other activists are saying now.
Those who follow policy matters closely sounded the alarm two years ago (myself included, in a column of these pages, “Preparing for New York’s Coming Criminal Justice Disaster“). The soldiers did not listen; instead, they labeled us as scarecrows. Perhaps now they will listen.
The problem is, we’ve simply had too many criminal justice reforms that have gone too far in too short a time. If legislators had consulted with knowledgeable people with different points of view before blindly following activists and academics into the abyss of crime, things might have been different. very different.
Certificate perception That crime is bad enough to keep tourists away, exacerbating financial distress. A city struggling to bounce back from the pandemic doesn’t need more bumps in the road. As cities across the country continue to grapple with rising violence, once-criminal fighters are finally coming to terms with that truth, even as many try to blame COVID.
They no longer deny guilt is a problem. It was a start.
Joseph Giacalone is a retired NYPD sergeant, author, and teaching assistant at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
https://nypost.com/2021/12/17/defund-the-police-doesnt-work-as-mayors-are-finding-out-the-hard-way/ Defund-the-Police doesn’t work – because mayors are finding the hard way