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How Defund the Police backfired After a spike in crime, progressive cities are reversing cuts

Progressives have undermined American justice. Credit: Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Progressives have undermined American justice. Credit: Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


December 28, 2021   9 mins

Over the last two decades, progressives have established a new consensus on crime. Nonviolent felonies like shoplifting and drug possession should be reclassified as misdemeanours. Cities should defund the police and spend the money on nurses, psychologists and social workers instead. Offenders should have minimal involvement with the justice system — and be kept out of jail wherever possible.

But now, rising crime is rapidly undermining the progressive consensus. Homicides rose 30% in 2020, and over two-thirds of America’s largest cities will have had even more homicides in 2021 than in 2020. At least 13 big cities will set all-time records for homicides, including Philadelphia, Austin, and Portland. Meanwhile property crimes in California’s four largest cities rose 7% between 2020 and 2021. Car break-ins in San Francisco declined temporarily in 2020, because Covid emptied the city of tourists, but they have since skyrocketed, reaching 3,000 in November. Many residents have stopped bothering to report crime.

Of course, many crime rates are still below what they were in the Eighties. And progressives are right to say that we shouldn’t panic about rising crime, since past panics contributed to cruel and crude responses, including overly long prison sentences with little in the way of real rehabilitation programmes. That’s why, in the late Nineties, I worked for George Soros’s foundation, among others, advocating for drug decriminalisation, reduced sentences for nonviolent crimes, and alternatives to incarceration.

But today it’s clear that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. In 2000, when I stopped working on criminal justice policy, progressives were advocating mandatory rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. Now, progressive prosecutors are simply releasing criminal suspects from custody without requiring rehab or extended probation. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for instance, a man who had run over the mother of his child with his SUV was released on $1,000 bail. Neither he nor his SUV were put under electronic surveillance. Soon after, he killed six people and injured another three dozen — by running them over with his SUV.

Meanwhile incarceration rates in the United States are at a 30-year low. In 2019, there were 17% fewer prisoners in the US than in 2009. And while progressives are right to point out that nearly half of the people in federal prisons are there for nonviolent drug offences, it’s worth noting that there are eight times more people in state prisons than federal prisons. And just 14% of people in state prisons are there for nonviolent drug offences. Half are there for murder, rape, robbery and other violent offences.

While homicides and other violent crimes merit special attention, crimes driven by drug addiction, such as shoplifting, public camping, and public defecation, undermine the fabric of city life. Progressives sold their criminal justice reforms on the idea that nonviolent offenders would be released into some kind of supervisory care, focused on treatment and rehabilitation. But often that did not happen.

Consider San Francisco. Its jail population plummeted to 766 in 2021 from 2,850 in 2019. If progressives had done what they’d promised, there would be 2,000 extra people on probation being supported to stay sober and out of trouble. That hasn’t happened. And that’s troubling because many who are released re-offend. Half of all offenders — and three-quarters of the most violent ones ­— who were released from San Francisco jails before trial, between 2016 and 2019, went on to commit new crimes. Instead of benevolent paternalism, progressives delivered libertarian anarchism. And yet all that would have been required would have been weekly drug testing, check-ins with probation officers, and electronic monitoring.

Still, if we are to reduce crime without returning to an era of mass incarceration, we need a new consensus around criminal justice — one that prioritises prevention and rehabilitation, rejects calls to defund the police, and views probation as critical to making alternatives to incarceration work. And all of that starts with understanding why people commit crimes in the first place.

Progressives attribute crime to “root causes” like poverty, inequality, and structural racism. San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin, for example, recently claimed that, “Affordable housing, quality education, access to health care and addiction services can provide the stability that empirical evidence has shown actually deters criminal activity.” Of course these things are important, but there is no evidence that they prevent crime. Indeed, the study Boudin cited simply found that, in 12 cities where over 10% of population received welfare benefits, “more crime occurs when more time has passed since welfare payments occurred.” It did not look at the role of any of the factors he referenced.

Indeed, there is little evidence for the claim that poverty and structural racism have any impact on crime. African American crime rates were lower during the Forties and Fifties, when segregation was legal, poverty more widespread, and discrimination more overt, than between 1965 and 1990. Indeed, homicides among African Americans shot up after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And though it’s true that homicides rose during the first few years of the Great Depression, they then declined in most major cities afterward. And rates of crime, including homicide, kept declining after the 2007 financial crash and resulting recession, the worst since the Depression.

Homicide is irrational and emotional, experts agree, not a natural and predictable response to personal setbacks. Social conditions like poverty, oppression, and unemployment do not drive violent acts; people suffering from these conditions have varied rates of violence throughout history. Rather, one of the most important factors, when it comes to homicide, is the public’s belief in the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, as well as things like patriotism and “fellow feeling”. Homicide rates among unrelated adults in the United States closely follow the proportion of the public who trust their government to do the right thing, and believe that most public officials are honest. As trust in government fell in the late Sixties and early Seventies, homicides increased. When trust in government rose in the Fifties and mid-Nineties, homicides decreased.

So anti-police protests take a toll. In 2014, a white police officer in Ferguson killed an unarmed 18-year-old black teenager, causing demonstrations across the US. Afterwards, the police chief in nearby St Louis noted that, “the criminal element is feeling empowered by the environment.” In 2015, the US Department of Justice asked one of the country’s leading criminologists, Richard Rosenfeld, to investigate whether homicides had risen after the incident. At first, Rosenfeld was sceptical, noting that homicides in St. Louis had started to rise before then. But after looking at the evidence, he changed his mind. “The homicide increase in the nation’s large cities was real and nearly unprecedented,” he wrote in his 2016 report. Rosenfeld had found a 17% rise in homicide in the nation’s largest cities, between 2014 and 2015.

Rosenfeld told me, when I interviewed him, that last year’s Black Lives Matter protests had contributed to the homicide increase. “When people believe the procedures of formal social control are unjust,” noted Rosenfeld, “they are less likely to obey the law.” And BLM protestors fail to recognise that the people who suffer most, when the police can’t do their jobs, are black Americans, who are more likely to be victims of violent crime. They are seven to eight times more likely to be homicide victims than white Americans.

But progressives have gone one step further, by undermining the idea that police actually have any power to reduce crime. “Law enforcement is not going to prevent the violence,” claimed Philip Atiba Goff, CEO of the Center for Policing Equity, a few weeks ago. In 2020, then–vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris tweeted, “America has confused having safe communities with having more cops on the street. It’s time to change that.”

Researchers find that negative publicity about the police has a powerful impact on police officers. Little wonder, then, that in 2020, at least two dozen police chiefs or senior officers resigned, retired, or took disability leave in America’s 50 biggest cities. 3,700 beat officers left. Today there are fewer police officers per capita in America than at any time since 1992.

What liberals ignore is that there is good quantitative evidence that more policing can reduce crime. They argue that the police don’t actually prevent crime, they just punish people after the fact. But in 2009, President Obama’s stimulus package offered a billion dollars in grants to struggling American cities, to fund the police; cities qualifying for the grant increased policing by 3.2% and experienced a 3.5% decline in crime.

And there’s another inconvenient truth that liberals ignore: the evidence suggests that fewer cops may mean more police misconduct, because the remaining officers must work longer and more stressful hours. Working a 13-hour, rather than 10-hour, shift means cops are far more likely to experience public complaints against them, while back-to-back shifts quadruple the likelihood.

Still, progressives are busy gaslighting the public about their efforts to defund the police. A progressive columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote, “while there is continuing debate about what is driving the violent crime increases … we know for a fact that defund had nothing to do with it. Because defund never actually happened.” This is patently untrue. After the Black Lives Matter protests, more than 20 big cities reduced police budgets by at least $870 million. The LAPD’s budget was slashed by $150 million in July, for instance. It’s just that homicides rose so quickly that most cities reversed their defunding budgets. “From New York City to Los Angeles,” noted the Associated Press at the end of last month, “in cities that had some of the largest Black Lives Matter protests … police departments are seeing their finances partially restored in response to rising homicides, an officer exodus, and political pressures.”

San Francisco is a classic example. After Black Lives Matter protesters last year demanded that cities “Defund the Police,” Mayor London Breed held a press conference to announce that her city would be one of the first to do exactly that. Breed announced $120 million in cuts to the budgets of both San Francisco’s police and sheriff’s departments. Last week, Breed u-turned dramatically, announcing that she was making an emergency request to the city’s Board of Supervisors for more money to fund the police and support a crackdown on crime, including open-air drug-dealing, car break-ins, and retail theft.

Progressives denounced her plan. They oppose enforcing laws, when addicts and mentally ill people break them, because they believe “the system” is fundamentally racist, wrong and the cause of social injustice. This explains why progressives are narrowly focused on black people killed by the police, even though 30 times more black people are killed by civilians. And it explains why Boudin and other progressive prosecutors are obsessed with emptying prisons. (“The challenge going forward,” said Boudin in 2019, “is how do we close a jail?”)

Still, there’s reason to be hopeful. When Breed announced a sweeping crackdown on open air drug dealing and crime, she said, “I’m proud this city believes in giving people second chances.”

“Nevertheless, we also need there to be accountability when someone does break the law … Our compassion cannot be mistaken for weakness or indifference 
 I was raised by my grandmother to believe in ‘tough love,’ in keeping your house in order, and we need that, now more than ever.”

My time working in justice reform taught me that tough love works. The Netherlands and Portugal are often held up as progressive utopias, and while it’s true that both have reduced criminal penalties, both nations still ban drug dealing, arrest drug users, and sentence dealers and users to prison or rehabilitation. “If somebody in Portugal started injecting heroin in public,” I asked the head of drug policy in that country, “what would happen to them?” He said, without hesitation, “They would be arrested.”

And being arrested is sometimes what addicts need. “I am a big fan of mandated stuff,” says former felon Victoria Westbrook. “I don’t recommend it as a way to get your life together, but getting indicted by the Feds worked for me.” Today Victoria is working for the San Francisco city government to integrate ex-convicts back into society.

It’s hard work, but it pays off. Over the last 20 years, Miami has reduced its “homeless” population by 57%, despite skyrocketing rents, by closing open drug scenes and providing free psychiatric care, drug treatment and basic shelter. In High Point, North Carolina, police targeted three neighbourhoods with persistent crack cocaine dealing. There, police officers, accompanied by local community workers, met with dealers in person, asked them to stop, and offered them job training, tattoo removal and help restarting their lives. The officers gave the dealers unsigned arrest warrants, ring binders of the evidence against them, and video proof of their crimes. It proved to be good motivation for the dealers to clean up their acts.

People in progressive cities are often shouted down for even suggesting a role for law enforcement. “Anytime a person says, ‘Maybe the police and the health care system could work together?’ or, ‘Maybe we could try some probation or low-level arrests,’ there’s an enormous outcry,” said Stanford addiction specialist Keith Humphreys. “‘No! That’s the war on drugs! The police have no role in this! Let’s open up some more services and people will come in and use them voluntarily!’”

But there is strong quantitative evidence that probationary programs that are “swift, certain, and fair” reduce arrests, recidivism, and drug use. The most famous of these programmes is Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE). It incentivised offenders to follow probation rules by applying guaranteed, immediate, and short jail time for parole violations like failing a drug test. One study found that HOPE reduced drug use by 72%, future arrests by 55%, and incarceration by 48%.

A researcher summarised the benefits of the program, saying, “HOPE actually gets people to change their behaviour by setting up a circumstance where their natural behaviour moves in the right direction. They don’t want to be arrested and go to jail, so they stop using. That’s a profoundly rehabilitative thing to do.” In other words, HOPE rewards addicts and criminals for behaving well, instead of simply expecting them to.

It’s time for a new consensus on crime. Enforcing laws will reduce violence. Pushing offenders to take responsibility for themselves, when they leave prison, will lead them to independent lives, rather lives of crime. Progressives have done their best to undermine justice, as well as common sense, for two decades. As well as refunding the police, we should apologise to them.


Michael Shellenberger is the founder and president of Environmental Progress, as well as the author of the best-selling book Apocalypse Never (HarperCollins 2020) and San Fransicko (HarperCollins 2021).

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Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

I can’t argue with anything said in this article, but was disturbed to see absolutely no mention of the victims of crime. These debates are always exclusively focussed on civilised ways of getting perpetrators back on the straight and narrow.

Would the discussion have more impact if a few stats were thrown in about the businesses that go bust after a major robbery, the suicides and depression that occur in the families of murder victims, the ongoing PTSD related issues for those on the receiving end of violent assault?

Airbrushing that side of the equation out lessens the urgency of the debate, minimises the real harm that these people inflict and, most importantly, takes out the concept of justice.

I wouldn’t want to return to an “eye for an eye” but the return of some element of fairness would be useful. If you hurt me I might want to see you helped to not hurt others, but would like to see some adverse consequences for you as well.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Bollis
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

absolutely no mention of the victims of crime.

Well, that’s not strictly right, Martin, because they are mentioned in the 13th paragraph. Unfortunately for common sense, the context is that they are black victims, as though these are somehow more victimy than run-of-the-ill white victims.
This is a bit of litmus test of the clarity of a writer’s thinking, for me. If all he can think of when he hears “victim” is “black victim”, and if he’s not prepared to admit that in the US at least the offender against a black victim is hugely more likely to be black than white, he’s not worth listening to.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Surely if you focus upon stopping criminals re-offending, you’re inevitably talking about making sure nobody becomes their victim in future?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Equally surely, if doing wrong has no adverse consequences, maybe even some positive reinforcement, you actively encourage others to do wrong. No?

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Bollis
John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Sorry, I think we’re at cross-purposes. I include prison in the list of ways we prevent criminals re-offending.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

What is missing is what a huge effect living in lawlessness has on the middle class–people who work hard and aspire to do the right thing. They pay more and more for insurance, property damage, and live in a climate of fear–not only that they will be robbed/killed/raped–though there is that–but also that everything they have is on the line every day.
These good people–of all races–live in constant fear that what they have worked so hard for–their car, their nice house, their kids, whatever they have–will be forcibly taken from them, and there is nothing they can do about it. The common glue that holds society together has failed–society is unmoored. One thing that Europeans simply do not get is that there are so many guns in America because people are so afraid. Yes, some just love guns, some fetishize guns, but many buy guns because they are genuinely afraid, despite the statistics that show that a gun is more likely to be taken from an ordinary citizen and used against him or her than to effectively stop crime. Buying a gun is a step, perhaps a small step, perhaps a big step, into thinking that you can regain some control. It is a chimera for most, but that’s how they feel.
That being said, I’m not a fan of the police, having worked closely with them. Every armed force in history has had an officer corps and an enlisted corp. Think of the police in the US as an armed force but with no officer leadership. The inmates are running the asylum. Add to that the fact that the police are poorly trained, often corrupt, usually very stupid, overpaid, and the expansion of the police in the US is seen as a means to provide high-paying jobs (and yes, they are EXTREMELY high paying for most cops–OVERTIME) for women and minorities.

Jean Nutley
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Quite so. You make admirable points and I salute your bravery in writing down some very “uncomfortable to face” facts.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Jean Nutley

I disagree with the poster above. 95% of Police really wish to ‘Serve and Protect’. They do the best they can, and feel like it is their duty to take care of the people they are paid to protect. They will risk their life and safety to get in danger if needed to help. They really are good guys.

I equate Police Exactly to Nurses. According to the mindset above nurses are just there because they like to torture people, to make them suffer, to get access to drugs, and steal and hide when not being watched.

NO – and I also have medical experience in Hospitals – the nurses feel like they want to help their charges. IT IS A thing Humans feel – the responsibility to care for the ones in their charge. It is an innate human condition.

It is a Blue Collar job – and it attracts people who want some action and are up to dealing with it.

Bob Taylor
Bob Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

You’re exactly right about the fear. I have a 30 year old friend, a civil engineer who is a husband, a father of three, and a homeowner. Early in 2020, a premonition unrelated to COVID-19 but somehow associated with it led him to carry a handgun at all times. Yes, he’s well trained in its use.

I’m dismayed by your characterization of American police as “usually very stupid.” I’ve never found that to be so. It may be that the mid – level PTSD most of them live with gives them a certain gobsmacked – like demeanor, and that you have mistaken this for stupidity.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Taylor

With respect, I disagree. I’ll match my experience with the police on any level–as opposed to the Feds (qualitative difference)–against yours. NYPD is what I know best. The average cop was a loser, who would be painting houses or “working construction” (unskilled) if the absolute minimal standards of the police exam didn’t put him in the middle class. NYPD gets about 6 months of training, but it is by morons for morons. People who went NYPD (New York’s Finest) couldn’t be NYFD (New York’s Bravest) because they were too dumb, too fat, or some combination. And many have a police mentality, where they wish to bully the people they come in contact with. The poor (most of the contact) are used to it so they tolerate it (shouldn’t have to, but do), while middle class and above are shocked at the insensitivity of the police and their callous and abrasive attitudes. And please remember, in ALL cases, the most important factor in investigating a crime is how much overtime it will yield.
In the US, there is a police force for almost every jurisdiction: town/village/city/county….you name it. In these smaller jurisdictions, when you have a police force, guess what–you need a police chief, a few captains, more lieutenants, even more sergeants…. It never ends. As one local NJ cop told me once some years ago–“We’re the world’s highest paid babysitters.”
How about the Florida “school cop” who hid when a teenager shot up the school. LITERALLY HID OUTSIDE. He retired a few days later–I’m not sure if he faced criminal charges or not–at a pension of….. wanna guess? $108K per annum. Do you think he (or any similarly situated cop) deserves this? And of course his case is special–not only is he fat and stupid, he’s also a coward. The one moment in life to step up and he literally hides.
And how about “lap dance girl” in the news of late with the NYPD? Do you think she’s intelligent? Get’s drunk (common among cops) at an office party and gives her boss a lap dance–sign of intelligence? (As an aside, I think every female cop I knew well was sleeping with a boss, often to get a better assignment, i.e. never be outside when it is raining, etc….)
I still upvoted you because I agree with ¶ 1.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

An alarming insight re the police. I have no experience of the US police, so no real right to comment, but surely it can’t be that bad everywhere?

If the pay’s that good, and the command structure that diverse and local, there must be many areas of good practice?

Good people living in fear is another obvious side effect of the emphasis on the offender rather than the victim.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Sadly, that’s not correct. US is a big place so maybe somewhere, somehow there is an excellent police force. But VERY MANY of these little jurisdictions use the police to raise revenue–parking, “speeding” (speed traps, not for safety, to raise revenue), to harass one and all, though in many cases “outsiders” are harassed a bit more than locals.
I’m not against the (limited) police in theory–and remember almost everything in the land of the free violates some law–but they need to be led. They need adult leadership, an officer corps. When I was a public prosecutor, in theory, I was “above” them and reviewed their work–making decisions whether to go forward or not with arrests, cases. In practice, I had zero power over them, and because they usually have extremely powerful unions, they are untouchable.
My European friends are amazed at how little training it takes to become a police officer–I believe one can be “certified” and perhaps then hired by a local police force (pure patronage–whom you know, and usually for screw ups who can’t do anything better, get kicked out of college, things like that), in maybe 8 weeks. It takes longer and is harder to get a driver’s license in parts of Europe than to become a police officer in the US.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Until a few decades ago the Chief Constable of most counties was retired military officer, usually colonel and above with the Deputy as a career police officer. Also many retired army personnel joined the Police, the usual situation was a former Sergeant often from the Guards or Royal Marine Commandos or Royal Navy. In M Ashers book on the Raid on Rommel he mentions that four of the Commando/Special Forces Sergeants became senior Police Officers after WW2 The result was that Police had then confidence born of combat experience yo know when to to diffuse a conflict with a joke or go in fast and hard.
I wonder how much of the reputation for competence of British Police depended upon their previous military experience, especially those in Commandos/Special Forces which raised standards throughout the forces?

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

If you’re reading this from the UK then it can be hard to understand (unless you know a bit about policing) What isn’t tackled in this article, or much of the policing debate in the US is whether there’s a need for fundamental police reform. It’s all about money. I find it strange that the ‘answer’ to failings by police is to starve them of funding. What’s that supposed to achieve?

Unfortunately America always sees itself as a leader in everything & rarely looks outside it’s own borders for answers.

There are two well recognised issues with the 2 tier policing system that America practices.
Firstly the ‘law enforcement’ model creates a mentality that cops are there to catch bad guys. Of course they are but the community policing model in the UK is different (most observers argue better). In the UK there’s single tier policing, police officers are better paid, better trained & more importantly, have a different approach. They are trained that their job is to serve the public & prevent crime, catching bad guys is just part of the job – not ‘the job’

The second fundamental issue in America is guns & the use of force by police. From a British perspective (where the police are routinely unarmed) the American gun culture is difficult to get your head round. But the circumstances under which police officers are entitled to use firearms in the US is actually part of the problem.

A system whereby a police officer can draw a firearm & potentially use it, simply because someone has run off is always going to have tragic outcomes.

Weirdly none of the policing debates even talk about these structural issues.

For these reasons not much (in my view) will change.

Helen E
Helen E
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Agree with much of what you say. But your comment ignores the fact that pretty much every criminal and many law abiding citizens in the US are carrying guns. By necessity, US police officers’ assessment of most situations is that the people they are dealing with are armed to the teeth with lethal weapons.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has estimated that the number of police-public encounters (stops, arrests, responding to calls for help etc.) for 2015 was over 53,000,000. (Of that number, in 2015 police used lethal force in ~1,100 instances. For perspective, US pop = 350 million.)
Reform and re-education is badly needed. But practices and statistics from other countries don’t apply in the US, given citizens’ free access to guns here.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

“despite the statistics that show that a gun is more likely to be taken from an ordinary citizen and used against him or her than to effectively stop crime.”

This is untrue. The use of a firearm to run off a criminal is hugely successful. I have heard your myth used before – but just think of it – could you take a gun from someone defending themself and use it on them? Maybe you could – but 99% of thugs just run off when given this choice.

I have wide experience in the rough cities and weird places – and when someone produces a gun against someone because they are up to no good – the suspect runs off almost every time – unless it is some gang fight – they they both may shoot up the place – but really – the true statistics are when a law abiding person shows their firearm it almost always causes the criminal to flee.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I hate guns and the very idea of relying on them for safety in a civilian context, but if I lived in the USA I think I’d only feel safe if I had a gun nearby (with training in its use too).
My experience of USA police is that they are respectful (to me as an obvious tourist) but very authoritative and dogmatic – there’s no discussion allowed in even minor interactions but mere obedience to directions. This dogmatically authoritative culture seems to extend to others in authority such as customs/immigration officers, security personnel (presumably because they are ex police) and even extends to bureaucrats in government offices.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Is this due to the tens of millions of Americans of German/Prussian descent ?

Harry Child
Harry Child
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

One question – would you be prepared to become a policeperson in San Francisco? There is an old saying you can only really know what a job is like until you walk in their shoes.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Why not makes areas responsible for stopping crime? In the Middle Ages in England each village had to elect a Constable for a year. When a Constable called the Hue and Cry all males from the age of 15 to 60 years had to help him arrest the criminal; if they did not assist they were fined. The Parish Constable was accountable to the Constable of the 100 who was accountable to the Sherif of the County. The village, 100 and Country were held accountable for crimes in their areas.
The advantage of this system is that large numbers of males over their lifetime become responsible for stopping crime in their areas. From 1182 AD each house had to have at least a spear and from mid 13th century most houses had a spear, bow and arrows, dagger and sword so people were well armed. From the 13th century archery practice became compulsory. An archer could fire 24 shafts in two minutes and could kill a knight at 250 yards . The butts by law had to be 440 yards long so this shows power of the war bow.
England had a murder rate of about half that of the Low Countries and quarter of Italy.

Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I thought that a very humane and realistic set of comments Martin Bollis. Humane because you were bringing the victims of criminals to the foreground and realistic because this is what most people actually want. They, we, are fed up of the primary focus being on rehabilitating the perpetrator. In the news there may be, generally, a short piece on the victims, but most of the airtime seems to be on the people who choose to commit crimes, whatever their personal sense of justification.
Perhaps not an eye-for-an-eye but maybe the victim(s) can select one from a set of legally acceptable punishments, which is applied to the defendant if found guilty. At least the victims may get a sense of control over the process that was forced upon them and the perpetrator gets uncertainty and a punishment that fits the crime, as best as, the victim sees fit.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

“white police officer in Ferguson killed an unarmed 18-year-old black”
An incident where multiple witnesses came forward to testify in favour of the police officer (most of them black if I recall), and pointed out how our innocent 18 year old went hyper aggressive, and ended up charging at the “white police officer” leaving him with no choice.

And that’s the root of the problem – not the question whether police needs funding, defunding blah blah.

The main issue,that has reached critical stage now is that self proclaimed “progressives’ like you have created victim classes which cannot accept responsibility for their own failures – infantilised, entitled, narcissistic.
This includes a range of groups, blacks, upper class women, indigenous people, alphabet people, muslims – who in various ways are much less productive, much more backward, much more as aggreesive.
And in their pitiful minds it’s all the fault of non victim groups like White males, Asians, Jews etc.

Essential, meritocracy has been inverted in the West.

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I have read that Western societites on the whole are responsible for this development. Apparently, “we” were much too tolerant. If a large group shows much tolerance, ultimately small groups with the least tolerance will tend to make the rules.
An example was given with halal food in a cafeteria. In the example, a minority of muslims would require their food to be halal in order to eat there, so the cafeteria would offer an extra halal meal. Over time, the costs of this split would be deemed to high, and as halal food is potentially enjoyable for everyone, a policy of exclusively halal meals was adopted. Costs were reduced to the original state, but now a rule was introduced in favor of a minority, which also affected the tolerant majority.
And indeed, Western society has been too silent, too accepting and too spoiled. We were tempted by moral superiority and any resistance was shouted down by a loud few, calling us bigoted. We should have just taken it. Words can’t harm you, unless you let them.
As Osho put it: “tolerance is an ugly word”.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Yes, the guilt gun is the most powerful weapon in western societies, and can change policy, governance and the law, leading to their deconstruction. Meanwhile,elsewhere on the planet, it is utterly useless, and elicits derision and contempt.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

As the writer said :

“That’s why, in the late Nineties, I worked for George Soros’s foundation,”

So I guess it is ‘Mission Accomplished’ for this lefty.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

Only last week I saw a 30-minute interview on Al Jazeera with Professor Angela Davis, now of University of California, Santa Cruz. (This is the same big-hair Angela Davis of the 1970s, now aged 77).

She was totally against defunding the police; what was the point of any funding at all when the police were so obviously racist? She wanted to abolish the police. She spoke for 30 minutes, almost without interruption.

She was asked how this could be achieved and she didn’t actually answer because ‘it was very complicated’ and ‘comittees would have to be set up’ for discussion. Presumably, there would be no white people on these committees and she, herself, would have a lot of involvement.

Two questions came to mind – why did she have 30 minutes to air her view and was she serious?
I believe that Angela Davies and people like her are so anti-white, so racist, that they like the idea of black people being freed to kill white people so this anti-racist pose is, in fact, super racist. I still can’t answer the first question.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Wheatley
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

To the left, whether someone is racist or not depends on the race of the racist. Blacks can’t be racists because their race makes it impossible. Whites are racist because of their race. Accepting all this makes you an anti-racist. Does that help?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Totally clear, thanks.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

…generously funded committees to “do the work,” find “root causes” and “share their lived experiences” with progressive governments and media.

Richard Sutton
Richard Sutton
2 years ago

“Progressive cities”
In the real world they are known as shit holes.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Sutton

Bang on. The use of the term ‘Progressive’ these days is laughable, feels like satire

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Sutton

Channeling your inner Donald there.

David B
David B
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Trump was not the first, nor the last, to correctly identify shitholes as shitholes. Making a place less of a shithole requires recognition that it is, in fact, a shithole.

Last edited 2 years ago by David B
John T. Maloney
John T. Maloney
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Sutton

Here in San Francisco ‘shit hole’ is not a metaphor; San Francisco is quite literally a shit hole. The number of vagrants is vast and any sidewalk is their toilet.
What more would you expect from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s District 12?
In addition, The City suffers two fentanyl & opioid deaths per day. So, while strolling on the sidewalks in SF, be sure to dodge mounds of human feces AND step over deceased junkies. I’ve done both.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

we need a new consensus around criminal justice — one that prioritises prevention and rehabilitation, rejects calls to defund the police, and views probation as critical to making alternatives to incarceration work. 

Classic begging the question. The author has already decided what the consensus should look like.
An alternative consensus, arrived at the same way, might be that justice should be properly retributive and should entail measures that will conclusively ensure non-repetition of the crime. This would prioritise building more prisons so as to create the capacity to remove habitual criminals from society permanently. It would also require root and branch reform of the CPS and judiciary to purge both of bleeding heart liberals.
I forget where I read it but the police think there are 180,000 criminals in the UK who are responsible for pretty much all crime. Unfortunately, there are only about 80,000 prison places. The above reforms would enable and ensure very heavy sentences without remission for those who through repeat offending identify themselves as members of the 180,000. Their permanent removal would transform the quality of life in the UK, and would be funded by the money saved not having to deal with all their crimes.
It’s always instructive to count how many uses of the word ‘victim’ appear in this type of article, and the context. If it’s none, or as here is about black victims, then the writer’s a pro-criminal liberal, and best ignored. The above programme would allow proper compensation for victims. They are infinitely more important than offenders, who need not be rehabilitated at all if instead they are simply kept out of the way.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Interesting to read Theodore Dalrymple, ex-prison doctor, on how prisoners in prison have much better health than they do in society at large. For example, if they are ill they can usually see a doctor on the same day and we definitely can’t do that in our society today. Another example is they can be heroin addicts and get heroin in prison but it is almost impossible for them to overdose.

He makes the point that a lot of people in prison actually prefer the life there. This must add weight to your view.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Possibly. Prisons needn’t be brutal hellholes a la Shawshank Redemption. They would be prisony in the sense that if you aren’t careful, you aren’t leaving for a long, long time.
So a burglar gets caught and is given 6 years. He does 3 years and would then be allowed out, as now. But if he reoffends in any way, he completes the other 3 years first; then, consecutively, he starts a new sentence for the new offences. The new sentence is naturally heavier, maybe 10 years, with no or more limited remission. If he offends again, he completes that sentence first, then serves a further one, heavier again – 18 years, perhaps.
He still has a chance to avoid lengthy imprisonment after his first 3-year brush with the gaol system. If he persists, his second stint is going to total about 12 years and his third about 20. If you keep every habitual criminal in jail for 35 years of their lives, you are going to see a step change in the incidence of crime, because they are simply not at at liberty to commit any more of it. It means the average sentence is now going to be just under 12 years, which necessitates a lot more jail space, but if you actually did it, you really could somewhat defund the police.

Al M
Al M
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Presumably you would re-train the now unemployed cops as warders? The only problem I can see is one which comes from considering how different patterns of behaviour establish themselves in an animal society. Eventually, they settle into a point of stasis which fluctuates in response to influencing factors.
Crime is a form of cheating by which resources are obtained; it will always be present. Lock all your criminals away and maybe you create opportunities for other individuals to fill that gap as surely as predatory animals occupy the territories of other individuals after their death. This does not mean that I favour letting everyone go simply because someone else will commit the same crimes, of course. The idea of doubling the sentence after each conviction? Yeah, fine.

Last edited 2 years ago by Al M
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Al M

I’m not sure it follows, though, that once you’ve jailed all the thieves, other people will replace them as thieves. The issue I have with the guff about how crime is caused by poverty, racism etc, is that these things affect far more people than go on to commit crimes. The majority of poor people don’t steal, and therefore poverty is not a excuse for anyone to do so.
I suspect most crime is caused by a combination of greed and inherent or learned criminality. If you’re poor, greed for things you can’t afford will encourage some people to steal what they want, but only that proportion that is also predisposed to criminality; or that observes it to have no consequences, and takes criminality up.
The number of people who think like this is about 180,000 in the UK and 100,000 of them aren’t in jail. They should be, and if they were, there’d be next to no crime, not least because the inclination by others to try it would not be encouraged by the impression that it’s riskless.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Indeed. It is truer to say that criminality causes poverty (since a criminal record makes it harder to have a decent job and thus a regular income, savings and investments) than the other way round.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m reminded of the meme ‘ Only in the UK can you go to prison for not having a TV licence but once there you can watch TV without a TV licence. A friend of mine works in the prison service and was telling me about the choice of food the prisoners got to choose from an extensive menu, including halal, vegetarian options ect for Christmas Day. The staff meanwhile had to take in their own sandwiches.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Very true. I’ve met many offenders who actively want to be sent down and who have even committed crimes to achieve that goal. In prison, they get to hang out with their mates, as well as the basic home comforts of bed, warmth and food, which they may not have out in the community. It might be boring, but they have routine, access to healthcare as required, and for the addicts/alcoholics, it’s a chance to get clean, although most relapse as soon as they get out into the community again. Having said that, many UK prisons have drugs problems, so heroin abuse on the inside still happen. Some people plan their returns to prison very carefully and it’s astonishing what can be packed into a rectum.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

We could certainly do with locking up some of our repeat offenders for longer in the UK, if only to take them off the streets and give victims a break.Prison is expensive, of course, so there’s pressure to keep sentences as light as possible, but the amount of police/court resources (ie. public money) taken up by the same old faces is unbelievable. Sometimes, it’s like a merry-go-round, and the character who went down last week is out again, causing more trouble that’ll get them another short, pointless sentence that achieves nothing to improve their behaviour, and leaves the victim dissatisfied. Even when they’re recalled to prison for bad behaviour, chances are they’ll be quietly released in a few days. Fact is, whether the bleeding hearts like it or not, some habitual criminals are just never going to reform, no matter how much help you throw at them, and while you see a lot of the crime-committing youngsters grow up in their twenties and settle down, when you meet men in their thirties, forties, fifties etc who still haven’t changed their ways, then they’re probably not going to do so. I say men, because they’re the vast majority, with a few women and the odd trans person.
It’s always going to be difficult to balance justice for victims against the cost of preventing future crimes by locking up and attempting to rehabilitate criminals, but there needs to be a better balance, particularly when you see repeat offenders with 50+ convictions or more being released time and time again to create yet more victims.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Bass

The quality of prison life should be calibrated by sensible available budgets AFTER more important services have been funded – esp those of the victims etc. Set a per person budget and let the crims run their own little exclusive village -too much death or bad behaviour results in food and TV diminishing etc etc – I guarantee criminality would diminish rapidly BECAUSE THE CRIMS WOULD HAVE TO LIVE IN THEIR OWN (vicious) CULTURE VS ‘OUR’ RELATIVELY KIND AND CARING CULTURE. ‘we’ spend what $100k per year per inmate -what a sad joke given the amount of genuine struggling people out there – no wonder the crims prefer prison !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

I’m a former prosecutor. I did my time in the War of Drugs–utterly pointless. I feel like a Vietnam Veteran who regrets his service there. Legalizing ALL drugs is the only sane alternative–and I am not saying that drugs are good or that I will force your little lad or lass to smoke crack. The profit motive drives the drug trade, which leads to often violent crime. Help the addicts as a medical problem–so much cheaper and humane than fighting this insane “war on drugs.
BUT there is a reason that there are prisons. American comedian Richard Pryor riffed on this beautifully and memorably. He made a movie in a prison initially thinking–Free the Brothas–and left thinking “Thank God we have penitentiaries….”
Priceless!

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Legalize all drugs? Awesome! I thought cigarettes were profitable, now I can cash in billions with Heroin Inc! I guess I can’t sell lethal doses, so once I hook most of the population I guess they will still be selling those illegal versions behind the Walmart, but once I buy the media companies like Phizer and mandate small doses of sedatives for school kids to facilitate learning (just following the Science!) I’ll be fine profit wise regardless. And when society dies I’ll just blame the people behind Walmart. Wait….

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

Do you suppose the advocates of legalising all drugs ever take the time to consider how that would would work in practise?

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

Actually, I’ve thought a lot about this. My idea is that treating addiction as a medical issue would mean that addicts would go to the Apteka and be monitored–they could get their drugs under medical/pharmaceutical supervision but have to log in, be monitored, watch anti-drug videos, etc…. The repeated exposure to the absolutely massive bureaucracy would cause many people to give up drugs.
Also, to you and other commentators who seem reflexively against legalizing drugs must understand that drugs, though technically illegal, are widely available–everywhere. Hence the profit motive, drug crime, shared needles, health issues, a parade of horrible. If drugs were legalized the revenue they would bring in–and the $ saved in not enforcing completely stupid and unworkable laws, i.e. prison–would fund this program and more…..

Dapple Grey
Dapple Grey
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

‘The repeated exposure to the absolutely massive bureaucracy would cause many people to give up drugs’
But then wouldn’t they just score on the street as it would be so much easier?

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Dapple Grey

Actually, this has happened, usually with the VA (Veteran’s Administration), which provides health care to vets. It goes like this: doctors overprescribe pain meds. It becomes a problem, and one day a memo goes out–no more pain meds. This creates real problems for those who need the meds for pain and those who are addicted (different groups, usually). Some have turned to heroin for exactly the reasons you state: easier and cheaper.
This says a lot about how effective the war on drugs is. No plan is perfect, but let’s recognize that the war on drugs has failed, declare victory, and move on. Nothing could be worse than the current fiasco.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Portugal decriminalised the use of illicit drugs in 2001 and so there has been an experiment running in that country for 20 years.
As JJ points out, there seems to be a lot to be gained by treating this problem in a more holistic way (as the Portugese have tried to do).
Mixed results see :
https://substanceabusepolicy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13011-021-00394-7
and
https://transformdrugs.org/blog/drug-decriminalisation-in-portugal-setting-the-record-straight
but the hiccoughs seem to be related to local politics and biases rather than inherent faults in this particular management model.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

AGREED – plus there might be a more open conversation about drugs and ‘why am I self medicating per se ‘ – often due to a sense of hopelessness for one’s future. The cash saved could be used to fund education or small business set ups – or ,
you know, actually useful stuff. People want a break from their lives because they suck (to use that crude vernacular) or to blot out emotional pain – both those causes can be worked with if funding is available

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I just found the clip on YouTube – very funny (and very fightening)

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Glad you found it worth your time!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

The problem with legalising drugs, and I am not joking this is cited is a reason, is that it would remove a source of income from black communities who would presumably have to turn to other criminal activities

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

see my comment above

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

According to the Oregonian, Legal Pot for any use is the failing policy in Oregon. Since government has to be involved the regulations, taxes and general hassle has spawned a huge growth in “illegal’ growth and sales followed by drug wars among the competing growers. Legal is being driven out of business and the buyers get it off the street for much less cost or effort. Works great.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
2 years ago

I live in southern Oregon and see this. The legal growers and vendors cannot compete with the cartels who enjoy economies of scale and not being regulated or taxed and can therefore sell profitably at a lower price point than can the legit operations.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Medicinal drugs go through years of testing to prove that any side effects are not significantly harmful. If drugs that are known to be extremely dangerous are legalised, isn’t there a contradiction here? I spoke to a police officer about this issue, and he said “We have enough problem with alcohol, let’s not add any more problems to society.”

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Illegal drugs aren’t necessarily any more dangerous than legal ones. Pure heroin, given at the correct dose, is no worse than legal morphine. However, street drugs are cut with all sorts of ingredients that bulk them out to increase dealer profit. If you’re an addict, you don’t know if the brown powder in the baggie you just bought is 50% heroin, 10%, 0%, if it’s been bulked out with curry powder (yes, really) or if it contains other, more dangerous drugs like fentanyl, so when you prepare your hit, you may overdose and die if you’ve judged it wrong, or the contaminants in it may cause an abscess that gets infected and leads to you losing a limb or your life. Similarly, the blue street valium tablets that have been rife in the UK lately have been passed off by dealers as diazepam, but contain a cocktail of anything but, and have put numerous people in hospital. In both examples, the addict would have been safer taking their preferred poison at a known dosage, with medical help available to wean them off their addiction.
It’s not ideal to have any of these drugs freely available, but legalising/regularing/taxing are the lesser evils, when we long since lost the war on drugs.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Bass

especially if the legal stuff was pure- I believe that pure heroin does little damage to the body and would be cheap to make -so who really cares if an addict gets a clean shot a day – I know people on 10 different meds per day (older) – what is the hanguup ?????

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Defunding the police is a perfect example of logic and common sense leaving the building. At the same time get creative around resolving social problems and reasons that breed crime – using the correct stats to assess the problem in a non-political way.
Sadly, it seems impossible to keep politics out of this and people in the most affected cities are enabling the very policies that are destroying their cities.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

lesley – the Increased Crime is INTENTIONAL. Soros and his ilk are out to destroy the West, and it is to achieve two things they raise crime rates every time:
1) It causes social breakdown as people are suspicious and fear others, and other kinds.

2) it makes citizens tolerate Hugely increased surveillance. Get rid of the beat and stop locking criminals up so crime increases drastically – then all the constraints against electronic surveillance (Millions of Cameras in London – meta data collected – everyone watched on line and off…) so Thought Crime and Political Crime can be punished.

Paul Hughes
Paul Hughes
2 years ago

Criminal justice policy in the UK certainly, has been dictated by those largely unaffected by it. People with affluent privileged middle class lives, with an approach to offenders informed by guilt at their own advantages. In the meantime the ‘honest’ working classes who suffer the most from criminality and who have no such guilt trip would, given the opportunity, advise the powers that be how best to deal with the problem. Would they be listened to? No.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Hughes

“Criminal justice policy in the UK certainly, has been dictated by those largely unaffected by it.” Precisely.

Morry Rotenberg
Morry Rotenberg
2 years ago

“I was raised by my grandmother to believe in ‘tough love,’ in keeping your house in order, and we need that, now more than ever.” Here is the problem why 6% of the American population commit 50% of the murders. The destruction of the black family structure in the USA by misguided welfare programs based on the bigotry of low expectations.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

If I was running a defunded police department I would make it very clear which areas would not get policed because of lack of resources. These would include the areas in which which the wealth democrat voting elite live and the university areas.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

I understand the sentiment, but the policy wouldn’t work; the residents of the areas to which you refer tend to be unafraid to argue a case articulately using selected facts, and have access to the written and broadcast word.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Oh, I think it could work! They have to deeply feel and personally experience the consequences of their actions otherwise they will never learn.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

“In order to reduce the power of police, we need remind everyone why they are needed in the first place and make crime worse.” – Modern Activists

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

The writer sounds like one of those feminists who moan about trannies. Radicalism thus far but no further thank you very much.
Besides, it’s rather irritating to think that Defund might be rolled back just at the point where it is about to achieve its greatest potential – destruction of the Democrat’s reputation and prospects.

Last edited 2 years ago by David McDowell
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

But are you saying we can’t change anything because some people might take it too far? When a feminist (radical or otherwise) campaigns for men and women to have equal economic rights (just to choose one aspect) it doesn’t mean that she is advocating that trans people should be able to self identify; in fact this would have been unheard of before very recently, and is a completely different issue. The same goes for imprisonment, it is perfectly possible to want to prevent mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, whilst at the same time wanting people who commit violent crimes to be off the streets. However, this needs to be done properly to ensure such people don’t just continue to offend.

As I see it, the people who want to take things to extremes are only successful beacause they are endulged by those in power and by those who are deluded into thinking that this is somehow good and caring. There needs to be louder voices pointing out the down-side; however, if these voices are just as strident and intolerant as those that they are opposing no-one will be convinced. So, there needs to be less of the “hang ’em all” or “lock ’em up and throw away the key” refains and more of the “what is the most effective and efficient way to deal with the problem” questions. After all, having large numbers of young men (and also women), who are non-hardened criminals, locked up, who will then come out and re-offend, putting into practice all that they have learned whilst in prison is hardly indicative of a successful criminal justice system.

Last edited 2 years ago by Linda Hutchinson
Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

If you defund the airlines by reducing the number of cabin crew, specifically the number of air stewardesses, and stewards, then the number of air rage incidents on board an aircraft would surely increase (or more likely spiral out of control).

If the passenger aircraft of one airline were to be treated like a bus, keeping for now two pilots up front but a solitary conductor, as it were, checking on the passengers, then people would very quickly not feel safe or have faith in their fellow passengers. Soon the number of people flying that airline would drop massively. Arguments would strike up more frequently and voices raised as well as hands and pointy fingers. The solitary conductor, or guard, barely visible among the pleading passengers, would struggle to get through the crowded aisles fast enough to dampen down hostilities. Meanwhile another argument breaks out at the other end of the plane. The conductor/guard rushes to that one, and as he does so, fisticuffs ensue from the first fracas.

If the conductor/guard is, moreover, seen as too powerful (or oppressive), and he or she has his daily duties reduced to mere conductor status, then the aggressive political drive that has led to that may well seek to increase the number of air rage incidents in order to keep the idea of conductor as oppressor and the system he works for as oppressively bossy very much alive in much of the public’s mind. This would be an attempt to cast the system as a problem. A pile-driving attempt.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago

I’ve heard the author on a couple of podcasts taking about his new book, “SanFransicko”, and thought he sounded like a fairly reasonable guy. But the fact that he worked for the most evil man in the world – I don’t care how long ago it was – renders any claim he makes dubious, in my opinion. And I agree with the other posters that he largely disregards the victims of crime to focus primarily on what to do with the poor perps. Reminds me of all the teary handwringing after the 9/11 terrorist attack: “Whatever did we do to make them do this to us?!”

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago

Victims of violent, serious crimes are silenced and made to feel like broken, contaminated, worthless rubbish in Australia – we have similar problems with law enforcement not being fit for purpose. I made a detailed comment from a victim’s perspective to this post. In Australia we get charged with criminal offences ourselves as victims of violent crimes, unless we accept with obedient resignation and silent dignity being denied justice – out of sight.

Paul Davies
Paul Davies
2 years ago

I can tell bloggers what works. Pain and the cane for minor offenders before they become hardened criminal. We smack puppies on the backside when they misbehave. There is no hope for young people unless they are made aware of the consequences of their acts – talk to them all you like but a swift sharp shock with no mixing with hardened criminals works – look at Singapore.

John Pade
John Pade
2 years ago

Is either crime or poverty a cause of the other, or are they both effects of some other common cause? Poor people and criminals are both stupid, for example. Maybe the people whose efforts spin the crime/poverty treadmill should devote more attention to studying the effects of stupidity and what can be done to limit it opportunities for expression. Alternatively, they might study laziness, another trait expressed disproportionately in the poor and criminal.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

Brilliant article, only to be expected of course from this particular writer. His recent book on climate change is just as good, and does much the same job on that subject as is done here in producing evidence not only that the efforts of activists are usually pointless, but often actively harmful to the cause they claim to represent.

One thing I would very much like to see is a statistical analysis of exactly how many victims of murder there are as a specific consequence of the BLM protests in 2020. I am virtually certain that somebody is going to produce such numbers at some point if the correlation exists, and look forward to reading it in due course.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

That was my reading of the article, John. I think most commenters on here have misread his aims because some of his phrases are deliberately ironic eg progressive cities.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago

Many residents have stopped bothering to report crime.” The same is, and has been applicable in Melbourne, Australia for many decades.
I stopped trying to report violent crimes against me by an ex-coworker stalker whom I have never even dated and his accomplices who joined in the free fun to be had, when a bikie assaulted me using his helmet as a weapon causing permanent injuries on 1 July 2018, and Victoria Police let the bikie walk free with nothing to worry about. Victoria Police office closed the case against the bikie who did not just assault me, but also gave an obviously false statement to Victoria Police “due to insufficient evidence”. Victoria Police refused medical evidence substantiating my injuries, neglected to compare my size to the bikie’s size, neglected to check the feasibility of the bikie’s statement.
Victoria Police are known to block reporting attempts for crimes punishable by 10 years in jail, refuse to investigate crimes they are unable to block from being reported, refuse/”lose” evidence for crimes they are unable to wriggle out of investigating, are said to provide “Double Jeopardy As A Service” to career criminals by purposefully botching investigations, and then lie about crimes they cannot block from being reported/cannot avoid investigating.
Victoria Police – the only law enforcement agency we have in Melbourne, Australia – don’t need to be defunded. They need to be replaced.
Since Victoria Police don’t have a duty of care, they are accountable to absolutely no one in reality, they are allowed to practice crime statistics’ reduction via crimes never investigated = crimes never happened = fabulous crime statistics, they are allowed to both, investigate themselves, and keep a complete information blackout about their self-investigation thanks to s194 of the IBAC Act, there is little point of the existence of Victoria Police. Except that Victoria Police officers are used to terrorise Victorians who dare to question the world’s longest lockdowns that produced more Covid infections and deaths than the rest of Australia combined at the same time.
Victoria Police’s purpose as nothing more than an intimidation tool in our dictatorial government’s support is demonstrated best perhaps by Victoria Police officers in riot gear shooting at unarmed and peaceful protesters. In 2021. At the Shrine of Remembrance of all places.
Victoria Police’s complete unsuitability for purpose is nothing new. Raymond T. Hoser published two books(1) about Victoria Police’s corruption going back several decades prior to the books’ publication. Nothing improved since, except for the range of risk-free criminality available to Victoria Police officers via the ever-growing chasm between the law and technology reality.
But wait, there is more!
In Victoria Police’s case, people naive enough to try to report violent crimes getting charged for that naivety is on the table too, as reported by the Police Accountability Project(2):

“Many of the women we interviewed reported that police failed to respond to their complaints of violence against them. Compounding this duty failure, police would sometimes threaten to charge the woman experiencing violence if she persisted in complaining or if she expressed dissatisfaction with the police response.”

My experience with Victoria Police as a female Australian citizen professional with no criminal background is consistent with what Raymond T. Hoser published. I was charged with criminal offences also, when I didn’t accept being denied justice as well as denied information about why I have been denied justice over and over again. I self-represented at court and successfully fought off Victoria Police’s use of the Criminal Justice System as a weapon against public servant witnesses of serious crimes and victims of serious crimes trying to report serious crimes. Silence is an unbearable burden for those, who know about ongoing, serious crimes, because silence feels like complicity.
(1) Victoria Police Corruption. (736 pp.) Kotabi, 1999. ISBN 0-9586769-6-8 and Victoria Police Corruption 2. (800 pp.) Kotabi, 2000. ISBN 0-9586769-7-6
(2) Source: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/social-affairs/new-body-complaints-against-police-good-move-caveats Last accessed: 22 May 2020.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

I’m sorry for your experience, this is chilling to read. We like to think that Australia doesn’t have these kinds of banana republic issues, quite terrifying to see that it does.
I hope you get justice.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago

Thank you for caring. I would have never believed a story like mine until I have had to live it myself. I am no longer hoping to get justice. Since I was a public servant witness to serious crimes at the Victorian Electoral Commission 2009-2012, making Public Interest Disclosures like my comment above isn’t just therapeutic, it is also a duty – in the absence of law enforcement fit for purpose.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
1 year ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

PS: I discovered the identity of the bikie who assaulted me via an old screenshot of the vile attacks against me of a ‘Michael EREMIA‘.
9 days after the bikie’s assault debilitated in my bed at home by the assault I asked my peers on LinkedIn for deescalation/self-defense advice, given that in Australia we are not even allowed to carry pepper-spray for self-protection. I posted one of the photos of the bikie that I took seconds before he started to assault me using his helmet as a weapon. ‘Michael EREMIA‘ abused me on LinkedIn for violating the bikie’s privacy, even though the bikie on my photo wore a mask as well as a helmet covering/disguising his features, and I could not provide the bikie’s name. I didn’t know if I ever met the bikie before he assaulted me.
The intensity of the vulgar brutality of Michael EREMIA‘s comments was so overwhelming, I missed that he referred to a minor aspect of the assault only the assailant and the victim would know, hence Michael EREMIA gave away his own identity as the assailant bikie.
Michael EREMIA also knew, correctly, 9 days after his assault against me using his helmet as a weapon and giving Victoria Police an obviously false statement that Victoria Police were not investigating. I only received the official close of the case without charging the bikie “due to insufficient evidence” 3 weeks later. Victoria Police refused medical evidence substantiating my injuries, never compared the feasibility of Michael EREMIA‘s statement and mine, never compared the size of Michael EREMIA to my size.
Michael EREMIA is evidently free to graduate to murderer, likely never punished for any of his crimes, like many others before him.
Australia likely never had functional law-enforcement, given the ease and consistency of crime-hiding, crime-witness/crime-victim intimidation Victoria Police officers deliver, when someone is naive enough to try to report a crime in theory punishable by 10 years in jail. 21st century technology augmented Victoria Police officers’ risk-free crime capabilities manifold, since Raymond Hoser bravely published his books on Victoria Police corruption in 1999.
Since Australia’s bikies make billions in the drug trade and the Internet is everywhere, Australia’s lawlessness is no longer avoidable by avoiding Australia. As my extensive first-hand experience shows, advanced cyber-crime capabilities have been in Australian organised crime arsenals for more than a decade. And, Australia faked its way into Five Eyes, AUKUS and who knows what else.
I am making this comment on 29 June 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. Last break-in into my home that I know of in the early hours of 13 April 2023, last undeniable cyber-crime about 10 minutes ago.
I have exhausted all legal avenues in Australia (also tried Amnesty International, etc.) to have crimes I witnesses, crimes I am forced to live with on a daily/hourly basis at least on record and only achieved being subjected to worse crimes.
I cannot bear the burden of silence. I haven’t made poor life-choices or costly mistakes. A middle-aged, married-with-children, highschool-dropout, rockstar-wannabe IT Helpdesk Assistant stalker coworker organised-crime info source added me to his already extensive list of concurrent targets in 2009, because I became an e-commerce world champion while working as a Business Analyst at the Victorian Electoral Commission.
People need to know the risks Australia’s age-old fake facade of law-and-order pose to everyone across the globe in the 21st century.

Ernesto Garza
Ernesto Garza
2 years ago

We welcome this small reattachment to reality for Progressives. Now if they could just re attach to the destructive nature of taxes and regulations, the destructive nature of lowered racial expectations, the destructive nature of their Constitutional evasions, ….. but then, they wouldn’t be Progressives, would they?

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago
Reply to  Ernesto Garza

The bigotry of low expectations is extremely destructive to people. Taking away people’s responsibility for their own lives has devastating effects on a lot of Aborigines in Australia for example. I don’t have the time to look it up, but apparently too much caring and too much white guilt resulted in far more suicides than the hardship and real negative discrimination did decades earlier.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

I always call it soft racism, because that’s what it is.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Well, in relation to the ongoing debate about the causes of “violent crime increases”, it’s good to read the San Francisco Chronicle chronicling the “fact that defund had nothing to do with it. Because defund never actually happened.” It’s important indeed to set the record straight. Straight like the windy streets of San Francisco. You know, the wind-blown ones. Where the wind may blow fast down those long straight streets. Except down that little old famous really windy one.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

Question – an actual question because I don’t have the facts. Is the SF Chronicle correct? Has defunding never happened? Is there somewhere that I can find out?

Last edited 2 years ago by Linda Hutchinson
David B
David B
2 years ago

Maybe read the article, where the author describes various (often rapidly reversed) defunding actions in US city budgets.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago

A weakness with progressive thought is the edge cases – there are some criminals who have to be dealt with, even in Utopia. To the Left thinker there are far fewer criminals than are in prison. To the Right thinker there are far more criminals than are in prison.
We need to agree a Goldilocks solution where the only criminals in prison are the necessary ones, sentences are just right, and probation services are effective enough. The numbers of Police (a crude measure) will adjust.

John T. Maloney
John T. Maloney
2 years ago

MICHAEL SHELLENBERGER is a Soros lackey and obvious degenerate. This article is a disgrace. There is positively NO mention of the 314 police officers who have been shot in the line of duty through the first 11 months of 2021. Fifty-eight police officers have been violently murdered on the job, in the line of duty, as of Nov. 30, 2021.
These grim statistics dwarf prior years. This is the direct outcome of the “Defund The Police” farce, including BLM / CRT / SJW and other Soros-funded immorality.
Depraved doormats like “SHILLENBERGER” (sic) advance these evil vulgarities and must be held responsible for their inane and decadent rhetoric.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago

Terrible statistics indeed. I am not hopeful about those responsible for the lack of functional law-enforcement either in the US or in Australia to ever have to face the consequences of their actions. There are too many of them, and they would have no trouble getting free legal representation by high powered lefty lawyers.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
2 years ago

Why hasn’t anyone considered arresting Progressives? They are behind most of the mayhem in society and have the advantage of being easily identified..

John Hicks
John Hicks
2 years ago

“HOPE rewards people for behaving well!” How fantastically clever to have thought of that strategy. And that Hawaii has found it actually works. Gosh!

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago

If the Australian method is anything to go by, then those most affected by the absence of law-enforcement fit for purpose are silenced by using the Criminal Justice System against them – I have described the victim’s perspective a comment to this post. Prior to being forced to fight at court as an accused criminal I was told in no uncertain terms, that criminal charges will be dropped against me if I stop speaking out about Victoria, Australia not having law enforcement fit for purpose. I cannot stay silent about what is going on in Australia in a big city like Melbourne.
My story is consistent with many other victims of violent crimes’ experience, as reported by the Police Accountability Project:

“Many of the women we interviewed reported that police failed to respond to their complaints of violence against them. Compounding this duty failure, police would sometimes threaten to charge the woman experiencing violence if she persisted in complaining or if she expressed dissatisfaction with the police response.”

ï»żSource: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/social-affairs/new-body-complaints-against-police-good-move-caveats Last accessed: 22 May 2020.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
2 years ago

My understanding of this is that the left — and by extension the whole educated ruling class — cannot understand that their politics and their government programs have Made Things Worse.
So the problem cannot be people de-socialized by gubmint programs. It must be the malevolence of police, or the racist-sexist-homophobes under the bed.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
2 years ago

My understanding of this is that the left — and by extension the whole educated ruling class — cannot understand that their politics and their government programs have Made Things Worse.
So the problem cannot be people de-socialized by gubmint programs. It must be the malevolence of police, or the racist-sexist-homophobes under the bed.

Hubert Knobscratch
Hubert Knobscratch
2 years ago

In other news
Idiots do idiotic things


Hubert Knobscratch
Hubert Knobscratch
2 years ago

In other news
Idiots do idiotic things


John T. Maloney
John T. Maloney
2 years ago

James Joyce‘s comments are bigoted. Mr. Joyce is unreasonably attached to his OWN highly antagonistic opinion, at the expense of authentic conversation. It is the very definition of bigotry.
For example, most violence and the need for police is driven by illegal substance abuse. Singapore has one of the lowest rates of drug abuse in the world, with about 3000 users in a population of 5.6M.
How? 
Because the possession, consumption, manufacturing, import, export, or trafficking of these and other controlled drugs in any amount are illegal. Persons caught with less than the Mandatory Death Penalty amounts of controlled substances face penalties ranging from caning, up to 24 strokes, to life in prison. Outcome? End of drug problem, felonious crime, and over-zealous policing
Most degenerate, Soros-backed, Left-wing reprobates will NOT even discuss this proven solution because they are congenital bigots.
Most all in Soros’ corrosive malignancy called Open Society sponsor and perpetuate the crime-drug-poverty nexus to gain power. It stinks.

Last edited 2 years ago by John T. Maloney
John T. Maloney
John T. Maloney
2 years ago

James Joyce‘s comments are bigoted. Mr. Joyce is unreasonably attached to his OWN highly antagonistic opinion, at the expense of authentic conversation. It is the very definition of bigotry.
For example, most violence and the need for police is driven by illegal substance abuse. Singapore has one of the lowest rates of drug abuse in the world, with about 3000 users in a population of 5.6M.
How? 
Because the possession, consumption, manufacturing, import, export, or trafficking of these and other controlled drugs in any amount are illegal. Persons caught with less than the Mandatory Death Penalty amounts of controlled substances face penalties ranging from caning, up to 24 strokes, to life in prison. Outcome? End of drug problem, felonious crime, and over-zealous policing
Most degenerate, Soros-backed, Left-wing reprobates will NOT even discuss this proven solution because they are congenital bigots.
Most all in Soros’ corrosive malignancy called Open Society sponsor and perpetuate the crime-drug-poverty nexus to gain power. It stinks.

Last edited 2 years ago by John T. Maloney
John Burnett
John Burnett
2 years ago

When I traveled to the States in the late 1970s all of the paths in Central Park were lined either side by drug dealers. They would verbally offer their various drugs as you walked past.
I am fairly certain this stopped once they introduced a policy of zero tolerance under Guiliani. If your a criminal vote for the liberal Elite, they love everyone.

John Burnett
John Burnett
2 years ago

When I traveled to the States in the late 1970s all of the paths in Central Park were lined either side by drug dealers. They would verbally offer their various drugs as you walked past.
I am fairly certain this stopped once they introduced a policy of zero tolerance under Guiliani. If your a criminal vote for the liberal Elite, they love everyone.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago

 I worked for George Soros’s foundation, among others, advocating for drug decriminalisation, reduced sentences for nonviolent crimes, and alternatives to incarceration.

One out of three ain’t bad.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
2 years ago

‘Car break-ins in San Francisco declined temporarily in 2020, because Covid emptied the city of tourists, but they have since skyrocketed, reaching 3,000 in November.” Clearly an example of pent-up demand.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago

Let them live in the misery they have created! The next time these fools become victims of a crime, let their calls to police go into an endless loop filled with dreadful supermarket music. One reaps what one sows, and my sympathy is not even available in homeopathic dosages anymore. Perhaps they will learn when they fall flat on their faces?