As liberal programs for less accountability for criminals take root in one city after another — “criminal justice reform” is its intentionally opaque name — criminals have noticed. So have their victims. The quality and safety of urban life cascade downhill, but the most affected remain the common folk, so the political and academic elites can pretend it’s all a big mystery (or just ignore it). But the New York Times, of all things, spills the beans, albeit indirectly and unintentionally.
Here’s the start of the Times’ story, titled “Cities Want to Return to Prepandemic Life. One Obstacle: Transit Crime.”
CHICAGO — For months, Anna Balla, 47, tolerated the unruly behavior she says has become commonplace when riding the “L” downtown: smoking, harassment and even a stranger’s uninvited use of her shoulder to vault himself into a spot in a crowded Chicago train.
But it was a ride in March that made her swear off the trains completely. At a busy stop in the heart of the Loop during rush hour, she saw a young shirtless man yanking a woman and hitting her with an empty beer bottle as she cowered and screamed on the platform. Ms. Balla bolted from the packed car and fled to the street.
“I was just worried that someone was going to pull out a gun, or if the cops arrived, it would become a shootout,” said Ms. Balla, a museum registrar in Chicago. “It had that feel to it.”
Just as a number of major cities are trying to lure people back to formerly bustling downtowns, leaders are confronting transit crime rates that have risen over prepandemic levels in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Earlier this month, a shooting on a subway train in Brooklyn injured 23 people. In other cities, stories of violent assaults, muggings and stabbings on buses and trains dominate the evening news and worried conversations in neighborhood apps.
Could we run that by one more time? The affected cities, according to the Times, are Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The Times seems unable to spot the commonality, but readers won’t have any trouble: All those cities have notorious “progressive prosecutors,” that is, DA’s who have not merely stated, but boasted, that reacting soberly to “minor crime” is racism and punitive excess, and that they will take a different approach.
Haven’t they ever.
The story ends with one more example:
Kimberly Benedetto has experienced her fair share of harassment over her 23 years driving buses for Philadelphia’s system — passengers yelling at her and even spitting in her direction. But none of that compares with what she has seen over the last couple of years.
“I feel like things have gotten out of control,” said Ms. Benedetto, who said she experienced one particularly frightening incident in September by a teenager who threatened to assault her over a request to wear a mask, a requirement at the time.
“I will not stay one day past 30 years,” said Ms. Benedetto, referring to the tenure she needs to receive her full pension. “I’ll drive school buses — I just want to get away from this.
Ms. Benedetto works in Philadelphia. The principal public officer responsible for suppressing crime is its District Attorney, Larry Krasner. But Krasner’s name goes unmentioned in the story, as does the fact the violent crime throughout the city — and not just on the transit system — has spiked during his tenure, that he is a lifelong criminal defense lawyer, and he got elected on the back of a ton of Soros money.
Still, please remember, going soft on “minor crime” is being done in the name of “compassion,” to help, so we are told, those who don’t lead privileged lives — people like Anna Balla and Kimberly Benedetto. Perhaps our “progressive prosecutors” should talk to them more and George Soros less.
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