Recently, D.C. Councilmember Trayon White held a press conference to bring attention to the skyrocketing crime rate in the city.
“The crime is out of control and getting worse by the day” Councilmember White said in an official statement released on X (formerly called Twitter). “We must declare an emergency regarding the crime and violence in our neighborhoods and act urgently.”
Meanwhile, Oakland’s NAACP chapter issued its own statement the week before to, again, call for a state of emergency over its rampant crime which is hurting its communities in the city. The statement was then backed by the regional NAACP.
Crime affects more than just its direct victims – its negative effects impact the friends and family members of the victim who are often considered “co-victims.” But the effects go even further because, as society begins to lose trust in its institutions, more and more Americans begin to change their daily routines in order to avoid the threat of being harmed on the street.
Take for example the federal employees in the city of San Francisco, who were recently instructed to work from home so they can avoid the danger of being victimized on their commute to work.
We also have to consider the seemingly more troubling trend of regular Americans taking it upon themselves to stop crime.
There is nothing wrong with an individual who steps in to help stop criminal activity, as it speaks to the fact that there are Americans who care enough to protect their fellow citizens and communities. However, there is something wrong when a society increasingly relies on its citizens to stop crime – especially as they may often lack appropriate training or legal protections and may land them in hot water for acting in defense of others.
The solution to the problem of crime is not to get citizens to intervene more often, nor is it the well-meaning but wrong suggestion by Councilmember White to call in the National Guard.
The solution to crime is to build a police force that is well funded, well trained, and works with the community it serves. But none of that can happen if cities continue to listen to radical voices trying to defund or even abolish the police that got these cities trouble with crime in the first place.
But the action cannot merely stop at funding police or hiring more officers – the responsibility also falls on local district attorneys who are tasked with seeing convictions through the end to ensure justice is served and criminals are removed from the street. The crime problem, particularly in D.C., is no surprise when one learns that a D.C. prosecutor refused to prosecute 67% of crimes in 2022.
Cities can no longer ignore the problem of crime – but they can also no longer ignore what got them into that situation to begin with. Government inaction is the reason there are more criminals on the streets and regular citizens feeling forced to take matters into their own hands.
The government has failed to hire, train, and retain police officers, while local prosecutors have failed to keep criminals in jail and away from the streets. Crime in cities can no longer be ignored. Take a stand and join Our America’s network of activists fighting for Safer Streets and Brighter Futures.