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OPINION

Philly’s Crisis of Crime and What Should Be Done

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The violence in Philadelphia is reaching epidemic proportions. After Thanksgiving break, a 14-year-old was shot 18 times while simply waiting at a bus stop to go home from school. There was a double homicide last week. Today, someone else will be shot down in public. Tomorrow, more will be murdered. In fact, more than two people a day are being murdered in Philadelphia.

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According to Philadelphia Police Department reports, year-over-year homicides are up 11%. More than 700 people have alleged they were victims of rape this year alone. Violent robberies involving a gun are up over 23% this year. Victims of theft are up more than 14%.

When looking to examine the impact of far Left-leaning policies on a community, we see that in 2017 (the year before current District Attorney Larry Krasner took office), the city had 315 murders. If Philadelphia continues its current record pace, the city will finish this year with 590 murders – an 87% increase since Krasner became D.A.  

Furthermore, during this same time and according to statistics kept by the D.A.’s office, the conviction rate for prosecuting gun crimes has dropped from 64% in 2017 (the year before Soros-backed Krasner won office), all the way down to 35% this year – that’s a decrease of 45%.

“Meanwhile, according to the D.A.’s own statistics, the number of gun crime cases withdrawn or dismissed by the D.A.’s office has more than doubled, rising from 27% in 2017 all the way up to 61% under the Progressive Democrat Krasner.”

Houston, I think we have a problem.

There are six county jails in Philadelphia that have a baseline prison population of 8,082. Prior to Krasner, these prisons were consistently over or at maximum capacity. Under Krasner, the prison population as of October 2021 is 4,694. Meaning, well over 3,000 people are back on the street -- people who otherwise would be in prison. Are there some within that 3,000 who should not be detained? Absolutely. But how many? How many of those 3,000 should still be detained for justifiable reasons?

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For instance, the armed carjacking suspect who was arrested on August 14th of this year and charged with eight crimes, including aggravated assault, robbery, conspiracy, and possession of an unlicensed gun is one such person who should have been locked away from society. The cops did their job, but then it was the duty of Krasner’s office to prosecute. Instead, less than a week later, he was released having to post no bail. And guess what? Less than two months later, on November 28th, he shot and killed a Temple University student while he was unloading his mother’s car. The miscreant 17-year-old already had a long rap sheet and should have been held and charged. Instead, Krasner’s office gave him the opportunity to cut short the future of a promising young man.

Philadelphia has legalized lawlessness. ATV and dirt bikes rule the roads with zero law enforcement, no cash bails have created a revolving door of our legal system, and sweetheart deals are handed down in lieu of sufficient punishment that fits the crime. There’s a refusal to even do traffic stops and issue warrants, which often creates the opportunity to pull drugs, guns, and illegal money out of the community. Krasner’s Philadelphia believes in defunding the police, maligning officers, and glorifying reprobates – all culminating into the perfect storm against law-abiding citizens and the environment in which we work, play, and learn. There is an overall feeling of habitual lawlessness. There’s no value of human life and no punishment.

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So how do we solve this? Should we measure success by how few nights a person stays in jail? Krasner certainly does. Or should we measure success in how many people are employed, purchasing homes, NOT being shot down at bus stops, NOT being raped on public trains, and graduating from schools? 

I believe the solution starts with valuing life. It is insulting to pretend to solve any other issues when we do not value life. We must abolish the silly notion of defunding our police and replacing them with social workers. And we must put leaders in place who do not live in some unicorn reality but live in the real world.  Just last week, Krasner scolded the public to not believe their lying eyes. That in fact, there is no “crisis of crime.”

Additionally, we must acknowledge the reality of those living in our major cities and strengthen the family unit.  As someone who grew up the hard way, I know the value of family and I pledge to champion this cause.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nothing is so much needed as a secure family life for a people to pull themselves out of poverty.” And while we’re at it, I’d like to point out that nothing does so much to secure a family’s life as a good job.

Financial inclusion is the new Civil Rights Movement – and I’m not talking about government-funded subsidies, welfare, or more free stuff. I'm talking about real and sustainable opportunities that allow people to carve out a life for themselves. Once I’m the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, I will introduce the Minority Inclusion Act (MIA) to responsibly deal with how to put people on the path towards full financial inclusion.

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The path towards full inclusion includes, but not limited to:

1. Financial Inclusion

I will call on credit unions and financial institutions to make credit more available, providing opportunities to underserved people and those with marginalized backgrounds to have economic opportunities.

2. Business contract inclusion

All Government contracts will be subject to a two week pay-for-work provided to enable small emerging businesses (i.e., W/MBE) the opportunity to meet the goals of cash flow. 

3. Education inclusion

I will work to make school choice a reality for parents and students, regardless of zip code. Furthermore, I will work to decentralize school board systems within major cities.

The conversation must pivot to ask how we responsibly bring those who are living below the bottom rung of the economic ladder into the 21st century. Financial inclusion is the Civil Rights Movement of today. Not cash bail reform. Not banning the police from stopping certain traffic violations. Not reducing the dollar value of a felony crime. Not handing out more “freebies.”  People in poverty are not "special” and they don’t need to be handled with kid gloves. What they need are sustainable opportunities.

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