Violence in America’s cities: Police aren’t the problem

Violence in America’s cities: Police aren’t the problem

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Detroit, Flint, Camden, and other centers of urban violence are reaping what decades of Democratic social policies have sown; scapegoating the police won't make it better.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2015 — What do Camden, N.J., Chester, Penn., Detroit, Saginaw, Mich., Flint, Mich., Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Kans., and Buffalo, N.Y., all have in common?

They are all dangerous, American, urban crime centers. Burglaries, robberies, rapes, child molestation, assaults and homicides abound in these areas. But where on the list are prominent cities like Chicago, New York City, Boston, St. Louis, Cleveland, Little Rock, Memphis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, El Paso, Cincinnati, Jacksonville and Miami, which get all of the press?

They are on it as well, but the five most dangerous urban areas in the country, based on violent crimes per 1,000 residents, happen to be the first five cities listed above. Except for Detroit, they are not the cities you’d expect to top this sort of list.

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Study after study has been done to determine why these dilapidated areas exist as they do and why they have practically turned into combat-like war zones. The conclusions usually point to the usual suspects: drugs, poverty, poor education and a high unemployment rate. Rarely mentioned is that most of these areas have been under Democratic control and liberal policies for over 25 years, some much longer.

Many of these cities are declared gun-free zones; some are declared sanctuaries for illegal aliens. Progressive policies are standard in these desolate cities.

Nearly all of them are protected and served by more than one law enforcement agency. These include municipal police, county sheriffs, transit police, university or campus police, public school police, park and port police. Yet all remain meccas for violent crime.

The men and women in these law-enforcement agencies have been on the front lines for decades, protecting citizens and their property and, sometimes, paying for it with their lives.

Because of a rash of well publicized police shootings, there has been a shift in public opinion about law enforcement personnel, especially in the black community, and now the police are under siege. As a result, police are standing down in these areas.

They are becoming less proactive, less aggressive in dealing with criminals and less visible with the general public for fear of being reprimanded, sued, charged with a crime and possibly imprisoned on account of the split-second decisions they are counted on to make.

In addition, many politicians are quick to throw peace officers under the bus to appease the public; this has not gone over well with law enforcement and their unions.

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As it stands, things will not turn around until the residents get fed up with being under assault day in and day out and demand that law enforcement return and with a heavy hand.

These events seem to go in cycles. Most often they result from poor leadership. Until we return to the rule of law and bring back accountability, life in these crime-ridden cities will remain a crap shoot. Some people believe it would be much safer to live in Lebanon or Baghdad than in some American cities. To highlight why, here are some statistics:

  • Milwaukee has recorded 84 murders so far this year, more than double the 41 it tallied at the same point last year.
  • Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis have seen the number of murders jump 33 percent or more in 2015.
  • Chicago has seen the homicide toll climb by 19 percent and the number of shooting incidents increase by 21 percent.
  • In St. Louis, there have been 93 homicides compared with 58 at the same time last year.
  • In Philadelphia, Dallas, Minneapolis and Washington D.C., crime has also surged.

The sure way to clean up these cities is to restore confidence in law enforcement and remind people that not every cop is a bad cop. Most of them do their job with courage and integrity.

These cities also need a change in leadership. Most successful cities and low crime areas are run by Republicans. Republican leadership in our cities is more supportive of law enforcement, Second Amendment rights and business, and less inclined to excuse bad behavior on the grounds of disadvantage. Jobs are more important to fighting crime than nebulous theories of social justice; working people are too busy to tear down their cities with violent crime and unrest.

Unless Americans get educated, informed and constructively involved in their communities, our cities will continue to crumble, to bleed and to burn.

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CS Bennett
A world traveler hailing from Philadelphia, this author is a decorated war veteran (Desert Shield/Desert Storm - United States Navy). Author has degrees in Social Science from Bethel College (now Bethel University), in Criminal Justice from the University of North Florida and in Political Science/Public Administration, also from the University of North Florida. Author graduated from UNF in 2012 with honors (Magna Cum Laude). Author resides in a small colorful rural town named Interlachen, Florida (pronounced Inter-lock’n). His books can be found on and Barnes & Noble Online Bookstore.