Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Crime and self-defense in a pandemic environment

Contrary to what much of the mainstream news media is reporting, crime and violence appear to be on the increase in at least some larger cities.  I'm hearing that from my contacts in law enforcement (who correctly predicted the supply shortage in illegal drugs that's currently driving up prices and reducing supply across the nation), and now it's emerging in some news reports as well.

Chicago, as usual, is one of the epicenters of the problem.

The streets of Chicago may be largely empty as residents hunker down from coronavirus but some of the city's most deprived neighborhoods are still echoing to the sound of deadly gunfire and raucous partying.

While significant falls in crime have been one of the few positive side effects of lockdowns in much of the United States and elsewhere, they have barely made a dent in the homicide rate in Chicago, a city that has long recorded the most murders in the country.

Chicago police say 56 murders were committed in April despite statewide stay-at-home orders -- only a fraction lower than the 61 for the same month in 2019 -- while last weekend, the first of the new month, four people were killed and 46 others shot and wounded.

. . .

The West Side has some of the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods and hundreds of people filled the streets there overnight Saturday into Sunday as revelers partied in defiance of stay-at-home orders.

. . .

Chicago police told AFP that they would not "speculate whether or not victims/offenders are abiding by the stay-at-home mandate."

There's more at the link.

Efforts to ease the rate of infection in city jails led to the release of many offenders, who are doubtless contributing to the carnage on Chicago's streets.  So many have been released that the county sheriff's office is running out of electronic monitoring equipment.  To that, the always useful Second City Cop blog retorts:

This has turned into a national joke, freeing criminals (who have demonstrated a complete inability to live by the rules of a civilized society) upon an unsuspecting populace to "prevent" the spread of a virus. Has anyone seen the shooting and killing numbers for May?

I think SCC meant the April numbers, but I've no doubt that the May figures will illustrate an ongoing trend.

Meanwhile, in New York City, the rank-and-file police aren't happy either.

The city’s largest police union is demanding cops get “out of the social distancing enforcement business,” while slamming city officials for “releasing criminals,” “discouraging proactive policing,” and leaving subways “in chaos.”

. . .

[Police Benevolent Association president Patrick] Lynch added that the politicians are “still watering down our laws, releasing real criminals and discouraging proactive enforcement of fare evasion and quality of life issues.”

“As a result, our subways are in chaos and we have hero nurses getting mugged on their way to our hospitals,” he said, referring to a nurse who had her phone torn out of her hand in Times Square on April 26. “As the weather heats up and the pandemic continues to unravel our social fabric, police officers should be allowed to focus on our core public safety mission. If we don’t, the city will fall apart before our eyes.”

Again, more at the link.

By releasing so many thousands of criminals from jails and prisons, in the name of slowing the coronavirus infection rate, the authorities are simply increasing the pressure of crime on the street.  Those released have no jobs to which to return - most employers are still shut down - and little prospect of getting any money in the short term from overloaded bureaucratic social assistance departments and networks.  How do you think they're going to get money for their needs?  You guessed it.  They'll go back to what they do best - crime.

An interesting twist is that some black community leaders and influencers are now urging their followers to consider arming themselves against racist crimes by the white community.  The self-titled "Charlamagne tha God" is one of them.

Sunday on MSNBC, radio host Charlamagne tha God encouraged blacks to buy a gun to protect themselves against “white ISIS” amid the Ahmaud Arbery controversy, who was allegedly killed by two men, Gregory and Travis McMichael, in Georgia on February 23.

Charlamagne tha God said, “My thoughts are rest in peace and condolences to his family. I wish that brother had a gun on him while he was jogging to defend himself against those thugs, those goons, those terrorists. I call them vanilla ISIS. That’s what I call them. They hunted him down like he was a deer. I would tell my brothers and sisters to buy a legal firearm and learn how to use it to protect yourself and your family. I am, and I think when you are a black person in America, owning a legal firearm is a form of self-care. That’s my thoughts on that. I wish he had a gun on him while jogging. I would much rather see him in prison fighting for his freedom as opposed to being in a casket right now.”

More at the link.

I don't disagree with him, but not on racial grounds.  I'd like everybody, regardless of race, age, sex, creed, color or anything else, to be armed, trained, and able to defend themselves against criminal attack.  That would deter many criminals, while at the same time allowing police to focus on their primary task.  Robert Heinlein's famous dictum that "An armed society is a polite society" is as true today as it's ever been.

In New York City, it appears that more and more law-abiding citizens see it that way, too.

With thousands of cops out sick, cocky criminals on the loose, and people running out of money for food and rent because of COVID-19, the Rosario sisters of Staten Island want to arm themselves for what they fear could be a coming crime surge ... But New Yorkers are shut out, with the Empire State one of only five states where gun stores have closed, despite recent guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security saying they should be considered essential business.

And forget about even applying for a firearm permit in NYC; the NYPD has closed its licensing office.

. . .

High-profile crimefighters past and present also foresee a long, hot, criminal summer.

“It’s going to be every man for himself again,” said Curtis Sliwa, who founded the Guardian Angels in the infamous summer of 1977, when Son of Sam was on the loose.

“The wealthy see the plywood going up on the Madison Avenue shops and think riots,” he said. “But even if the criminals come to Park Avenue, rich people will buy themselves protection. It’s Park Avenue in Brooklyn we should worry about.

“The thugs feel the fear out there. They see cops aren’t getting out of their squad cars. That’s when bad stuff happens.”

. . .

Bernie Kerik, the police boss during 9/11, remembered how crime also dropped for three weeks after the attacks — then it returned and spiked.

“This is different and could be worse,” Kerik said. “If this shutdown continues through May, it’ll drive people into poverty. Many won’t qualify for government programs or unemployment. These people have to feed their families. Meanwhile, the criminals are emboldened.”

More at the link.

I think we're going to see this problem escalate all through this summer.  I hope and pray I'm wrong . . . but reliable, not-politically-correct indicators suggest that I'm not.  We'll see.  Just in case, please be careful out there.



Peter B said...

In a news report which will no doubt shock you, inmates are apparently trying to get coronavirus as a way of getting released from incarceration.

Not to mention the drug dealers in the story Wirecutter linked who have launched the Coronavirus brand for their heroin.

Jim said...

And when crime spikes this summer, the left will doubtless call for more gun control.

Sam L. said...

Question: Just how many big cities have Republican mayors???????? I'm guessing NONE.

Uncle Lar said...

Born in downstate Illinois and lived there first 30 years of my life.
I can state with assurance that almost none of the firearms fatalities in the state, and most especially in Chicago were committed with a legally owned weapon.
The Chicago death toll is owned exclusively by the rival warring gangs, and is only exacerbated by the impact the virus response has had on the illegal drug supplies from which those gangs earn most of their money.

Beans said...

I highly suspect (putting on my tinfoil conspiracy hat) that democratic mayors and governors are releasing the criminals into the community, not as an attempt at stopping coronayism, but as a way of maintaining the ability to control the people.

As to the Armaud Arbery controversy, the only controversy to this is why the media and the Black World are drumming up the controversy, as daily, hourly, the 'Poor Black Rhodes Scholar Mensa Student killed by redneck hick white supremist Klan Republican Conservative Trump Supporters (who also hate gays, wimmin, and daytime tv)' unravels farther and farther, like every race-baiting controversy in the last 20 years, well, except the one where actual racists captured and tortured an intellectually challenged man (but that's because the 4 vicious racist mentally unbalanced thugs were.... black and the intellectually challenged man was white and it was done because the blacks hated the whites and was the very definition of HATE CRIME so of course it wasn't treated as such.)

Old NFO said...

Chiraq isn't going to change... sigh... I carry every day for a reason. I'm old and disabled. Well, two reasons.

Madmax057 said...

A couple of days ago there was an article that reported the homicide rate in Houston had risen by 50% this year. The police chief said it was due to the drug trade battling over turf and product since the supply has dried up. This as well as other factors bear watching and being prepared for what is to come.

suburban said...

We escaped from New York City in 1984, so my info is dated, but I doubt things have gotten any better. It was harder to get a permit to have a long gun in your house in NYC than to get a concealed carry permit in upstate NY (which in turn was harder than most of the country). All guns purchased had to be registered by make model and serial number, and listed on your permit before you could take them home. So even if the gun stores were open, you could not just go buy a long gun and take it home.

Getting a permit to have a handgun in your home was so difficult in the early 1980’s that a former police chief was charging $5000 to get you a permit.