Pennsylvania might just have become the biggest political battleground, but the streets of its largest city have become a literal battleground, with record homicides this year. The question is whether this bloody dynamic will shape the outcome of this election and, even more importantly, the criminal justice policy agenda after the election.
In October, Philadelphia recorded 65 homicides, the most on record for that month. The city recently surpassed 400 for the year, and police believe they are on pace for 500 homicides by the end of the year. That would likely rival the record of 505 set in 1990.
These are the black lives we never hear about. We only hear about those career criminals who are killed in the process of charging police with knives, but we never hear about the hundreds of extra homicide victims this year thanks to the weakened deterrent of jailbreak policies and the war on cops. Almost all of those excess victims are likely African-American.
As compared to 2019, the murder rate is up 42% in Atlanta, 30% in Miami, 20% in Dallas, and 36% in Houston. San Antonio is on track for one of the deadliest years ever. Austin is seeing a 40% increase in homicide and an 18% increase in aggravated assault, and its police officers are retiring in droves.
In Phoenix, homicides are up this year over last year the most of any city outside besides Chicago.
Indianapolis just recorded its 200th murder, which crushes the record of 179 set three years ago – with two months remaining to the year.
In Ohio, the city of Columbus is about to break its record for homicides, and Cincinnati will likely break the record by the end of the year. Ditto for Cleveland.
Milwaukee is also likely to break its record, set back in 1991.
Thus, in so many battleground states, not just in pure blue states, President Trump has an opportunity to make his final pitch on pushing a national crime strategy that reverses the trend of criminal justice leniencies and laissez-faire against crime on our streets. Most of these shootings don’t come out of nowhere. They are committed by repeat offenders who are either never locked up or who are released early by the sundry new leniency programs implemented in most states this past decade.
This entire dismantling of our strong criminal justice system from the 1990s began with the false claim that the leniencies would only apply to low-level offenders. What happens when you release “low-level” criminals? Well, they tend to reoffend and commit those same “low-level” crimes. The only problem is that the definition of low-level has come to include anything, even murder.
On Friday, Rona Love, who had been convicted of two murders in the 1990s, was arrested for shooting someone in the neck in a Manhattan subway. How was he back on the streets? Love, a man who now considers himself a female, was placed on parole in April 2019. On July 15 of this year, Love was arrested for drunkenly hitting someone in the head with a broom and was released without posting any bail, despite the unbelievable grace he received with parole for his prior murder convictions. Thus, even a double murderer who violates the terms of parole is not reincarcerated in New York. Indeed, we have now reached a point in our criminal justice system where there is no such thing is a violent, high-level criminal in the eyes of the anti-incarceration movement.
Trump has a golden opportunity to close out his campaign in the swing states with a promise of law and order. While he is promising to deter criminals, Biden is making his final pitch to criminalize breathing by mandating masks on all Americans. Therefore, Trump’s closing argument should be: “I will lock up the guys who rob, shoot, loot, and steal with masks; Biden will turn all your children into mask-wearing robbers.”