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Liberal prosecutors helped fuel crime surges in some American cities, experts say


Daily Caller News Foundation

  • Crime surges impacted New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans in 2022, based on law enforcement data.
  • Experts partially blamed liberal prosecutors who did not pursue charges in many criminal cases.
  • “Crime, overall, has been increasing in cities like New York and Chicago in part because of decreases in policing, prosecution and incarceration,” Manhattan Institute Fellow Hannah Meyers told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Crime increases hit many of America’s largest cities in 2022, according to police, with experts holding liberal prosecutors partly responsible.

Some crimes rose as murders or homicides fell in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles compared to 2021, with robberies surging in New Orleans and San Francisco, law enforcement data showed. Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Cully Stimson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that crime has “exploded” since 2015 in cities with George Soros-inspired prosecutors, “defund the police” rhetoric or cuts and police demoralization.

New York City’s year-to-date murder complaints through Dec. 25 decreased, while rapes, robberies, felony assault and burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto complaints rose, police data showed. Manhattan Institute Fellow Hannah Meyers said “policing, prosecution and incarceration” decreases have contributed to overall rising crime in cities like New York.

“Drops in arrests have been spurred by, among other things, policies that dissuade officers from engaging suspects, such as NYC’s diaphragm law,” Meyers told the DCNF. “This increases the potential risk to cops of either physical injury or of professional, legal, and reputational consequences from grappling with suspects.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg issued a memo in January 2022 saying his office would treat armed robberies without a seriously-injured victim or “genuine risk of physical harm” as misdemeanors and not pursue prison sentences for crimes other than murder, other violent felonies, sex offenses, or major white collar crimes. However, he said in a memo the next month following public criticism that they would prosecute anyone “who harms or attempts to harm a police officer” and charge commercial armed robberies as felonies.

Bragg claimed in the February memo that the previous one was supposed to provide a “framework” but had been “a source of confusion.”

Murder, criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery complaints dropped in Chicago in 2022, but combined complaints of those crimes and robbery, burglary and theft rose, according to the Chicago Police Department (CPD).

Chicago homicides declined after the 1990s crime spike but have risen since Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx took office in 2016, Stimson noted. Foxx has said she backs Illinois’ cash bail abolition measure, according to Austin Weekly News, which the state’s Supreme Court stayed Saturday.

“In 2015 there were 493 homicides, but in 2016 when she enacted her hands-off, pro-criminal approach, homicides spiked to 778 her first year, and through 2021 have averaged 680 per year,” Stimson told the DCNF. Chicago registered 687 murder complaints in 2022.

Former Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Jim Murphy resigned in July, saying Foxx had rushed cash bail reform despite his support for ending the practice, according to Fox News.

“This administration is more concerned with political narratives and agendas than with victims and prosecuting violent crime,” Murphy stated, the outlet reported.

Philadelphia lowered year-to-date rapes and homicides as of Dec. 25, but gun robberies, retail theft and total violent crime offenses spiked, according to Philadelphia Police Department statistics.

Stimson criticized cities with the George Soros-inspired prosecutors, “defund the police” rhetoric or cuts and police demoralization for refusing to prosecute most misdemeanors, watering felonies down to misdemeanors and failing to seek enhancements for offenders with prior crimes.

“When you refuse to prosecute anybody for thefts, you see Wawa’s leaving downtown Philadelphia, Walgreens in San Francisco closing stores,” he argued. “So what does that do? It sends to the criminal element the green light.”

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives impeached Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in November. Krasner has avoided prosecuting many low-level crime cases, The New York Times reported, and advocated for completely abolishing cash bail.

“31 hardcore gang and homicide prosecutors he fired the first day in office and he calls himself ‘a public defender with power,’ ” Stimson told the DCNF. “In the five years before Krasner was the DA, there was an average of 200 murders per year. Since Krasner took office in 2018, there have been 2,202 homicides, that’s as of a few weeks ago.”

Los Angeles had a year-to-date homicide decrease through Dec. 24, but robberies, burglaries and thefts increased, based on Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) statistics. Los Angeles County District Attorney Gascon reportedly refused to prosecute almost 12,000 cases during his first year in office, and Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled against his effort to circumvent California’s “Three Strikes” law about felony convictions in 2021.

Foxx, Krasner, Gascon have reportedly received money from Soros-funded entities, and the left-wing billionaire donated $1 million to a PAC that pledged that amount to support Bragg’s 2021 election.

“The relative drop in murder cases in major cities relative to the rates of other crimes is also thanks in part to the (understandable) disproportionately large focus that policymakers and law enforcement and prosecutorial officials have devoted to combatting homicide,” Meyers told the DCNF.

Through Dec. 25, year-to-date rapes, robberies and motor vehicle thefts in San Francisco went up, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) reported.

San Franciscans fired reform District Attorney Chesa Boudin in June. His replacement Brooke Jenkins said the city became “lawless” during Boudin’s tenure.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission deemed New Orleans the “murder capital of the United States” for 2022’s first half, according to WDSU. Its year-to-date homicides and armed robberies through Dec. 26 spiked, the organization said.

Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams campaigned on a progressive criminal justice reform platform, reported. He asked the city council in November for significantly more funding toward hiring a murder and manslaughter-focused legal team, arguing it would “make significant inroads in bringing down our violent crime numbers.”

The CPD, Philadelphia Police Commissioner’s Office, SFPD, LAPD and New Orleans Police Department and Foxx, Krasner, Gascon, Jenkins and Williams’ offices did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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