Soft-on-Crime Liberals Are Ruining America’s Greatest Cities

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The Trump administration has made extraordinary strides in reducing violent crime in America. Democrats across the country seem intent on turning back that progress.

For more than 20 years after 1991, the violent crime rate plummeted almost without halt. Millennial Americans were largely spared the carnage that their parents and older siblings had to live with. For Generation Z, now entering adulthood, the days of widespread murders and muggings are known only through history books.

It’s easy to see why these younger people, many of whom voted for the first time within the past few election cycles, might dismiss concerns about crime. It’s understandable that they might be receptive to the sort of bleeding heart, soft-on-crime arguments we had to defeat back in the 1970s and '80s in order to restore law and order to our streets. But those of us who lived through those days know what’s at stake.

When violent crime began its most worrying spike in a generation during the final years of the Obama administration, Donald Trump promised that he would “make America safe again” if he were elected president. Through innovative new efforts to cooperate with and empower state and local law enforcement on the front lines, his administration has fulfilled this pledge. Violent crime decreased in 2017, again in 2018, and preliminary studies from major cities indicate continued success in 2019.

Why, then, are liberal politicians on both coasts so determined to reverse those gains?

Effective Jan. 1, Democratic legislators in New York eliminated pre-trial detention with cash bail for about 90%  of arrestees, including those charged with serious offenses such as burglary. This so-called “bail reform” was supposed to exclude violent criminals, but as we learned the hard way in the 1980s, criminals commit crimes, and this law means more potentially violent criminals will be back on the street shortly after their arrests, without even a bail bond over their heads to keep them honest.

Public safety and law enforcement officials, including New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill, warned Democrats to reconsider this reckless plan, but Democrats ignored that professional advice, and the preliminary results are turning out exactly as the experts predicted.

On the very first day that “bail reform” was in place, a judge was forced to release a drunk driver with three prior DWI convictions, six total felonies, six misdemeanor convictions, and five charges of failing to appear on his own recognizance. Less than two weeks later, he allegedly killed a Long Island college student while driving drunk — again — then attempted to flee the scene. Despite the defendant’s extensive pattern of criminality and obvious lack of respect for the justice system, the judge had to let him out on his own recognizance — again. 

New York’s Hasidic Jewish community, already reeling from a string of deadly hate crimes, is up in arms after an offender was released for the “non-violent” crime of slapping Jews while shouting anti-Semitic slurs — only to get out and attack someone else the very next day.

What about bank robbery? Apparently New York Democrats don’t think that’s a very serious crime, either. A judge had no choice but to release a man suspected of four heists — in which he used a note saying “this is a robbery,” no less — because, as robbery defendants often are, he was charged with the lesser offense of grand larceny. In gratitude for the state’s lenient treatment of him, Gerod Woodberry allegedly robbed two additional banks just a few days later.

“I can’t believe they let me out,” he reportedly said after being released. “What were they thinking?” 

The same brain-dead philosophy has taken root on the other side of the country, too. In November, San Francisco voters elected Chesa Boudin — the son of convicted left-wing terrorist murderers Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who was raised by fellow domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn — as their district attorney on a platform of “criminal justice reform.”

Now that Boudin has taken office, we’re seeing just what sort of “reform” he had in mind. His first major action was to fire seven of San Francisco’s most experienced and effective prosecutors. Apparently, they were just putting too many bad guys behind bars, despite San Francisco juries being among the most hostile to law enforcement anywhere in America. 

Boudin’s next move was to work up a new policy to let criminals convicted of serious crimes escape sentencing if they have kids. It’s too early to know the results, but my experience tells me it won’t be good for public safety in San Francisco.

At a time when we’re having so much success combating crime, liberal politicians are committed to reversing that progress. With President Trump setting such a strong example in Washington, there’s no excuse for letting the Democrats implement their crime-coddling policies at the federal level. This November, Americans cannot afford to put someone who agrees with these loons in the White House. Those of us who remember the rampant crime of the '80s and '90s know all too well how important it is to enforce the law vigorously and faithfully.

Bernard Kerik is a former police commissioner and Department of Correction commissioner in New York City.

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