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'We cannot keep you safe': Law enforcement officials warn about soaring crime rates and severely understaffed police forces
LAPD Detective Jamie McBride (Image Source: Fox News video screenshot)

'We cannot keep you safe': Law enforcement officials warn about soaring crime rates and severely understaffed police forces

Several law enforcement officials on Friday warned about the dangerous impact of soaring crime rates combined with police department staffing shortages, Fox News reported.

National Police Association spokesperson retired Sergeant Betsy Brantner Smith, LAPD Detective Jamie McBride, and former Chicago police officer Anthony Napolitano told "Fox & Friends First" that they are deeply worried America is heading into a crime "crisis."

The officials expressed concern about law enforcement's limited ability to protect citizens with the ongoing staffing issues.

"We can't get new people to this profession because law enforcement has been lied about," Betsy Brantner Smith stated. "We've been vilified. So we're ... in a crisis."

Smith told Fox News that there are currently at least 11 cities in the U.S. where law enforcement is severely understaffed, including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Louisville, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Tucson.

According to a June 2021 workforce report from the Police Executive Research Forum, officer resignations were up 18%, and retirements were up 45%.

At the same time, crimes in big cities like Chicago are rising. The Chicago Police Department reported that compared to last year, motor vehicle thefts are up 83% and theft is up 60%. Overall, crime in the city has increased by 39% in 2022.

Year-over-year, crime rates in Philadelphia have increased by 24.3%, in New York City by 21.1%, and in Los Angeles by 8.7%.

The panel of law enforcement officials argued that the understaffing problem could be blamed on the Democrats' "defund the police" movement that started in 2020.

"It doesn't matter here in Los Angeles because nobody goes to jail," McBride said. "The problem is you go back to 2020 and the defund the police movement."

"What they're doing now is vilifying the job, and they're connecting with our state's attorney and our chief judge, letting all these prisoners out and all these offenders out immediately," Napolitano noted. "And it makes cops throw their hands up in the air and say, 'I'm not going to do this job anymore.'"

McBride stated that the LAPD is struggling to protect communities because there are not enough officers on staff.

"It's not safe here," McBride explained. "I've been telling people for over a year, 'Do not come to Los Angeles. We cannot keep you safe.'"

"Every day is living in a movie set, between the movie 'Purge' — with all the violence, crimes, and murders — and 'The Walking Dead,' because you got all these people there on drugs in the homeless tents," McBride continued.

The law enforcement officials noted that, despite staffing trends, they believe most citizens do want a greater police presence in their communities.

"Most citizens want their police departments refunded or funded more, while citizens are concerned with our mental health," Smith said. "It's not the people who want their police defunded, it's the politicians."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →