Broken windows theory, that a little disorder becomes much wider disorder in a community if it is not addressed immediately, worked – until left-wing extremists and their social justice mobs dismantled it. The cost is broken neighborhoods, increased crime, massive looting, and a complete disregard for the law.
Broken Windows Applied
Broken windows was proposed by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982 and heavily implemented by police departments in the ’90s to great success.
“Perhaps the most notable application of the theory was in New York City under the direction of Police Commissioner William Bratton. He and others were convinced that the aggressive order-maintenance practices of the New York City Police Department were responsible for the dramatic decrease in crime rates within the city during the 1990s. Bratton began translating the theory into practice as the chief of New York City’s transit police from 1990 to 1992. Squads of plainclothes officers were assigned to catch turnstile jumpers, and, as arrests for misdemeanours increased, subway crimes of all kinds decreased dramatically. In 1994, when he became New York City police commissioner, Bratton introduced his broken windows-based “quality of life initiative.” This initiative cracked down on panhandling, disorderly behaviour, public drinking, street prostitution, and unsolicited windshield washing or other such attempts to obtain cash from drivers stopped in traffic. When Bratton resigned in 1996, felonies were down almost 40 percent in New York, and the homicide rate had been halved.“
These policies led to reduced property and violent crime well into the 21st-century. Then, came a wave of policy changes that reversed decades of progress:
- Bail reform
- Hyper-woke prosecutorial discretion in charging suspects
- Policing policies decriminalizing everything from shoplifting to drug posession
Bail reform initiatives were supposedly put into place to end a “two-tiered” justice system where low-income criminal suspects spend more time in jail pre-trial because they could not afford bail, while more affluent suspects could. The solutions proposed range from pre-set bail amounts to the complete elimination of bail.
Several cities and states adopted bail reforms allowing even violent offenders back on the street quickly. These are but a few of the many cases where someone who should not have been free, was freed by this ill-conceived policy:
- 11/21/21 – Darell E. Brooks allegedly drove an SUV into a parade crowd in Waukesha, WI, killing six and injuring 62 more. Brooks had been released from jail 5 days earlier on a $1,000 bond after he allegedly punched and then ran over his girlfriend with that same SUV
- 9/3/21 – Troy Davis allegedly raped and killed a 61-year-old woman, killed her two dogs, and lit the house on fire. He had been freed with no bail in June after he had been arrested on grand theft auto charges.
- 4/23/21 – Takim Newsom drug a New York City police officer with his car. The officer was hospitalized with a back injury. This incident came just 2 months after he was charged with attempted murder, but released by a judge
In broader terms, 482 suspects arrested for serious felonies in New York City during just the first 3 months of 2021 were released without bail only to commit another 846 crimes. More than a third of those crimes were in the most serious categories including murder, rape, felony assault, grand theft, robbery, and burglary.
A review of a Utah study on criminal recidivism after bail reform also showed the dramatic negative effects of no-bail policies:
Using statistics to equalize the time periods, the Utah study found that both the number of crimes and the number of violent crimes committed by released defendants appear to have substantially increased after bail reform.
The Utah study estimated the number of released defendants charged with committing new crimes increased by 45%, and the number of released defendants who committed violent crimes increased by 33%.
About 4,000 more defendants were released in the 15-month period after bail reform than in the 15-month period before, an increase of about 20%.
“But the total (estimated) crimes committed in the ‘after’ period vs. the ‘before’ period went up by substantially more than 20%—indeed, by roughly 45%,” the researchers write. “So it appears that somewhat more than half of the additional estimated crimes appear to have resulted from the release of a more dangerous (i.e., more crime-prone) population of defendants.”
George Soros and his wide network of PACs and activist groups financed the elections for several soft-on-crime Attorneys General. In return for the campaign cash, they have used their discretion to not charge criminals.
Illinois State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, who reigns over now crime-ridden Chicago, announced that she would not prosecute certain crimes – the law be damned.
“Foxx announced in December 2016, shortly before taking office, that her office wouldn’t charge shoplifters with felonies unless they either had more than 10 previous felony convictions or if they stole more than $1,000 worth of goods, which was more than triple the previous felony threshold of $300.”
As of October, Foxx’s office has only handled 38 retail theft charges this year, prosecuted only 10 and gotten a paultry six convictions.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin pledged not to prosecute laws he disagreed with. In July, the San Francisco Examiner reported that Boudin prosecutes less than half of shoplifting cases brought to his office by police – a far cry from past D.A.s.
“The numbers show the prosecution rate for shoplifting cases involving a misdemeanor petty theft charge for a loss of $950 or less fell under Boudin, from 70 percent under former District Attorney George Gascon in 2019 to 44 percent in 2020 and 50 percent as of mid-June 2021.
Prosecutors filed charges in 116 of 266 cases presented by police involving petty theft in 2020, compared to 450 of 647 cases in 2019, according to the data provided by the District Attorney’s Office.”
As his prosecution of smaller crimes faltered, a new wave of organized looting has gripped the city. In some cases, the looters carried firearms.
Other D.A.s similarly traded their duties to the citizens for Soros cash.
- Dallas County D.A. John Creuzot said he would no longer prosecute theft of items valued under $750 if the items were deemed “necessary”
- Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner “diverted” (ie. didn’t charge) 7 times as many cases of illegal gun crime when compared to his predecessor – homicides are up 30%
Decriminalization of … Crime
If hyper-politicized prosecutors weren’t bad enough, government and law enforcement officials have begun making policies preventing officers from enforcing laws they don’t like.
Broward County deputies were told in April that they should not enforce Governor Ron Desantis’ anti-riot law unless they run it up the chain of command and it is deemed “absolutely necessary” by the higher-ups.
California passed Proposition 47 years ago that made stealing anything less than $950 in value a ticketable offense instead of a felony.
“The decision to downgrade theft of property valued below the arbitrary figure from felony to misdemeanor, together with selective enforcement that focuses on more “serious” crimes, has resulted in thieves knowing they can brazenly shoplift and merchants knowing the police will not respond to their complaints, say critics.”
The Philadelphia city council overwhelmingly passed a bill that bars officers from making traffic stops for minor traffic violations. The violations that won’t be enforced include driving without license plates, inspection stickers, registration tags, working headlights, or brake lights.
How it Costs Us
When more than a million dollars of merchandise disappears from major retailers or a few thousand from smaller shops, they lose the chance to make money on the inventory they have already paid for. Now, they have to make the inventory they have cover their costs, so a risk quota gets added to the price of all things in the store.
When a store gets hit multiple times, either their own risk quota goes up, or if they file an insurance claim, their premiums rise. Those costs get passed on to consumers or the business closes as many have on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, in San Francisco, and other cities.
There is also a loss of access to goods and a deterioration of property values. That hurts consumers, jobs, the real estate market and ultimately the entire community.
Could it Get Worse?
If all this seems too much, just wait until the now-emerging “decarceral” social justice thing takes hold. That’s basically the abolishment of the prison system. So criminal offenders won’t face bail nor jail. What could go wrong?
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