As Crime Surges in Cities, GOP Zeros in on Progressive Law Enforcement Policies
In the wake of mounting violence and lawlessness across America’s largest cities, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Tuesday in New York City to address the concerns of citizens affected by criminal activity, which observers say is being abetted by the leftist policies of mayors and prosecutors.
Much of the hearing’s focus centered on the actions of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), who critics say is fixated on prosecuting former President Donald Trump with weak evidence instead of focusing on prosecuting rising violent crime occurring in his city.
“When you look at how Alvin Bragg is running the Manhattan DA’s office, it is amazing that there has not been an uprising by the citizens there in Manhattan,” said Rep. Nathaniel Moran (R-Texas) during Tuesday’s edition of “Washington Watch.” “When you look at 2019 versus 2022 … he’s charging 35% less felonies across the board. And then what’s left over out of that bucket, he’s reducing about half of those to misdemeanors.”
Moran, who serves on three House committees including the Judiciary Committee, further detailed a concerning pattern in Bragg’s conviction rates.
“Conviction rates [in 2019] for both misdemeanors and felonies [were] about 68% for the Manhattan DA’s office,” he explained. “When you look at the statistics now for misdemeanors, the conviction rate is 29%. For felonies, it’s just above 50%. That means one out of every two cases that even get to trial he’s unsuccessful at. Now, what that tells you is, if you start from the very beginning to the end, about one in six, one in seven people that commit a felony is actually going to be convicted of that felony at the end of the day. And that’s astounding.”
Moran went on to observe that New York City is far from the only American city that is being detrimentally affected by progressive policies toward crime.
“Even if you’re going to suggest that New York City is the safest of the largest cities, that’s like saying, ‘Well, we’re the safest of the most unsafe cities in America,’ because that’s exactly what’s gone on from Philadelphia to Chicago,” he said in response to New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) declaring that his city is the “safest big city in America.” “Even in my home state where you see it in Houston and Austin, [with] leftist policies where you’re looking more at social justice rather than actual justice. … Instead of supporting our law enforcement, it’s creating a crime epidemic, and it’s a result of them simply ignoring the victims and saying we’re going to protect the criminals.”
The hearing comes on the heels of mass mob violence in Chicago over the weekend as hundreds of teenagers descended on the downtown area and smashed windshields, burned cars, and assaulted bystanders, with at least two teenagers wounded by gunfire. In response to the violence, Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson (D) appeared to defend the behavior. After saying he did not “condone the destructive activity,” he went on to say that it “is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”
Observers like National Review’s Jeffrey Blehar are pointing out, however, that in order “to create a cultural, civic, and legal incentive structure that discourages this behavior,” it would require “police and vigorous prosecutors, as opposed to ‘community approaches.’”
Meanwhile, in the wake of the infamous Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) that was established by Democratic officials in Seattle after police withdrew from a section of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in 2020, the city agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by several business owners who alleged that the city violated their civil rights by not enforcing the law in the CHAZ. As a result of Seattle’s Democratic leadership that established the CHAZ, two teenagers were shot and killed. City officials subsequently attempted to cover up their culpability for one of the murders, which has still not been solved.
For his part, Congressman Moran sees a direct connection between increased crime in Democratic-controlled cities and the issues that city officials are focused on.
“At some point when you’re in Chicago or in New York City and you’ve got the city and the county and the state all run by Democrats, you can no longer blame Republicans,” he noted. “You can no longer blame guns for this. … [A]t the end of the day, they had to admit and the witnesses [at the House Judiciary Committee hearing] had to admit that when it came to the guns that were involved in the crimes in New York City, these were guns in the hands of criminals. They were already breaking gun laws. And when they say, ‘Well, we want more gun laws on the books,’ well, the gun laws on the books now need to be enforced by the Manhattan DA before he asks for more. If he won’t enforce those currently on the books, there doesn’t need to be any more restrictions.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.