Wake Up, Liberals! Crime IS the Real Reason Your Cities Are Dying!

Wake Up, Liberals! Crime IS the Real Reason Your Cities Are Dying!
Wake Up, Liberals! Crime IS the Real Reason Your Cities Are Dying!

Across the nation, “smash and grab” robberies make news. A simple search on the Internet for “smash and grab rampages” will yield articles and films depicting small groups of hammer-bearing people going into stores with expensive goods. In broad daylight and in full view of security cameras, the thieves use the hammers to smash display cases while grabbing costly items. Thus, they can steal items worth tens of thousands of dollars in seconds.

Spreading Misery to All

Of course, everyone pays for the thieves’ easy money. In 2023, an organization called Deal Aid, a retailer service provider, released a report on “Key Retail Theft Statistics” for 2022. The findings are shocking.

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The industry refers to stolen merchandise as “shrinkage.” The total shrinkage in 2022 was $112.1 billion, up from 2021’s $93.9 billion. The direct loss to merchants due to external theft and organized retail crime was $41.5 billion. To recover those losses, 46 percent of small retail businesses reported that they needed to raise store prices. However, customers and store owners weren’t the only losers. Localities, states and the federal government lost $14.9 billion in tax revenue.

These losses are not evenly spread throughout the country. They are highest in city centers, followed by high-end malls in the suburbs.

Nice Words to Describe An Ugly Reality

In a September 28, 2023, interview on NPR, Khris Hamlin spelled out two interlocking reasons for this surge. The first is the lack of penalties for criminals. “Retailers [are] a target for this activity because of the leniency when it comes to the penalties that these individuals will face if apprehended.”

Perhaps Mr. Hamlin is hedging his words because he knows that NPR’s primary audience is leftist. However, this point is simple. In most cases, the thieves escape arrest, despite the presence of eyewitnesses and film, because the spirit that spawned young people who chant “defund the police” is unwilling to arrest and prosecute the malefactors. They do it because they can get away with it.

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Despite his reluctance, Mr. Hamlin also makes another important point. These bands of criminals steal because they have a ready market for the stolen items. “[T]hings have become very easy for individuals to be able to take their stolen goods and to be able to resell them…. [I] t’s, you know, an easy way to be able to make a quick dollar out there.”

For some, easy money has always been an irresistible lure, even when public morality standards were higher. However, today’s culture is both materialistic and overly compassionate. The combination creates the ideal conditions for theft. The budding criminals see no reason to work for minimum wage when a few minutes of larceny without threat of punishment is far more profitable.

Exodus From Sodom and Gomorrah

Thus, the leftist media is eager to divert ultimate responsibility for the deteriorating cities away from crime and their pro-crime prejudices.

The headline of a July 2023 report from ABC News noted that “San Francisco’s Retail Hub is Turning Into a Ghost Town.” The headline continued, “The Exodus Isn’t Just About Crime, Experts Say.” However, a subtitle pointed out, “Half of the stores in the downtown hub have closed since 2019.”

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The report framed the downturn in biblical terms, calling it a “retail exodus.” It continued, “The trend has spurred criticism focused on crime and homelessness, but a more complicated set of forces is driving companies away from the city.” The network did admit the obvious, but it referred to the concern about crime by a euphemistic phrase—“a diminished sense of safety.”

However, the article noted two other culprits. One was the trend of working from home or other remote locations. The practice “slashed the number of office commuters,” which meant that far fewer people were shopping or eating in restaurants at lunchtime or after work. The other factor was online shopping, which has adversely affected retailing nationwide.

Near Total Denial

At least the people at ABC were willing to acknowledge that crime was part of the problem. Two months before that report, CNN Business reported, “The Real Reasons Stores Such as Walmart and Starbucks Are Closing in Big Cities.” Amazingly, crime played only a minor role in CNN’s evaluation, even though high crime areas surround CNN’s headquarters in downtown Atlanta. Apparently, the liberal bubble keeps them safe and warm.

“Several forces are pushing chains out of some city centers,” the article breezily points out. Then it provided a list, “a glut of stores, people working from home, online shopping, exorbitant rents, crime and public safety concerns, and difficulty hiring workers.” Then, it discussed the first four in detail—omitting crime and workers.

Silly “Solutions”

CNN’s suggestions to repair the problems omit increasing policing or punishing criminals. Such “kneejerk” reactions to the imagined crimes are not present as answers. The fixes must promote “the vitality of the streets and the people who inhabit them.” The cities could accomplish this by blocking certain streets on weekends so that they could “host street fairs, food festivals, live music, art exhibits and other events to draw foot traffic downtown.”

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Another CNN proposal is that landlords with empty storefronts consider renting them to short-term tenants. “This will allow for pop-up stores, seasonal retailers and a mix of food and drink vendors.”

Such suggestions are laughable. Pop-up stores, art festivals or lunchtime specials at gourmet restaurants won’t bring scared people into downtowns beset by crime. No one will open or operate a business in a high-risk area without police protection. At the same time, police officers can’t protect people if the city’s elected officials don’t stand by the police.

Hurting the People They Pretend to Help

The real victims in this story are the people who live in those cities. Their grocery stores and pharmacies are the ones that close because of the high crime rate. They must go to great lengths to prevent the little they earn from being stolen. They must navigate crime-ridden streets and mass transit systems to get to their jobs. If their children step outside at the wrong time, the consequences could be dire.

Leftist “reform” never considers these city dwellers. They are the real victims of liberal policies that destroy their families, homes and neighborhoods.

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