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Horowitz: Trump should embrace the 1994 anti-crime agenda, not repudiate it


Fewer arrests equal more crime. It's that simple.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One of the most bizarre aspects of an otherwise successful GOP convention was the constant reference to Joe Biden supporting the 1994 crime bill as if it were a bad thing. Given where Joe Biden's allegiance lies today, it would have been better for Trump to propose an updated 1994 crime bill that fits today's situation in order to take repeat offenders off the streets. It's not too late to make the second term about making America safe again, just like it was when people like Joe Biden believed in law and order in the 1990s.

The message being sent to criminals with all the continued emphasis on "criminal justice reform" is that violence is the answer and crime pays. A new infographic posted by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund shows the significant correlation between plummeting arrests and rising crime.

Fewer arrests equal more crime. It's that simple. This chart shows the immediate spike in crime over a one-year period following anti-law-enforcement policies in given hot spots. Whether it's anti-police rioting in Baltimore and New York or the court order in Chicago ordering more passive policing, the results have been more homicides and crime, overwhelmingly affecting black neighborhoods. It's no wonder that, according to a recent Gallup poll, 81% of black respondents and 83% of Hispanic respondents want more or the same level of the policing in their neighborhoods.

So why do Republicans and even this administration continue to send mixed messages? The president spoke powerfully last night against the anarchy, but many other speakers – from Ivanka Trump to White House senior policy adviser Ja'Ron Smith – kept touting "criminal justice reform," which is code language for the very jailbreak policies that have fueled this anarchy. They continuously talk about "second chances" for "low-level" criminals, but many of them have already been given numerous chances, and thanks to those chances, they go on to commit worse crimes.

One of the most powerful moments of the convention was when Ann Dorn, wife of retired St. Louis police officer David Dorn, described the murder of her husband during the rioting and looting following the death of George Floyd. It was one of many sadly incongruous moments of the GOP convention, because the alleged murderer benefited from one of the many "second chance" programs promoted by some of the other speakers.

As I noted in June, Stephan Cannon, 24, one of the suspects in the murder, was sentenced to seven years in prison for a robbery and assault in 2014, but he never served a day because he was granted suspended execution of sentence (SES). Even though he violated his parole, the judge did not reinstate the sentence. Had our system been working properly, had we continued the system in place under the 1994 crime bill, Dorn would be alive because Cannon would have been behind bars. But so many of the people within the orbit of Jared Kushner in the White House continue to push these policies and even criticize Joe Biden's former position on crime rather than using it to point out the radicalism of his current position.

At the convention, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) decried how the 1994 crime bill "put millions of black Americans behind bars." What he doesn't tell you is that black criminals are actually incarcerated at a lower rate relative to crime rates, or that incarceration policies saved thousands of potential black victims of homicide. The reversal of these policies in recent years, accelerating in recent months, has led to the loss of countless black lives. Those are the facts we needed to hear consistently at this week's convention, but instead, we were treated to equivocation and diffidence on the issue of crime, which only further blurs the distinction between the two parties.

According to research of NYPD crime data by the Daily Caller New Foundation, there were 194 reported shootings in America's largest city in June that involved members of the black community. That is a 177% increase over the same time period in June 2019. Since last year, the city has released many violent criminals because of coronavirus or because of "bail reform." Sure, those policies have ensured that more black arrestees, among other racial and ethnic groups, are out of jail. But those are black criminals. What about the effect on black victims of crime? The numbers speak for themselves.

One of the worst aspects of the "reform" agenda is the release of violent suspects without bail. Last week, Frank Main, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times, reported that more than 1,000 people charged with murder, robbery, or illegal possession of guns were released by judges in Cook County this year on electric monitoring devices. Those devices are worthless, and local police believe these releases are responsible for soaring murders in the city, which mainly target black victims.

Where is the united GOP agenda on this issue?

The president himself had the right message during his acceptance speech. "Last year, over 1,000 African-Americans were murdered as a result of violent crime in just four Democrat-run cities," said the president last night in a long and powerful speech in front of the White House. "The top 10 most dangerous cities in the country are run by Democrats and have been for decades. Thousands more African-Americans are victims of violent crime in these communities. Joe Biden and the Left ignore these American victims. I never will."

One way to make that happen is by passing a new crime bill and using the budget bills to funnel federal funds only to localities that lock up criminals. Trump must recognize that, contrary to the premise of his advisers, we have an under-incarceration problem, not an over-incarceration problem. Remember that this entire collapse of deterrent against violence began when these same advisers pressured Trump to stand down from calling in the military after the first riots began in May.

It's time for Trump to restore deterrent against crime in America. But such an effort begins with a revamping of critical White House personnel to actually match the long-standing views of the president on crime, not the views of Joe Biden – the 2020 version.

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