The far left has perpetuated nationwide lawlessness and the Biden administration is complicit
Prior to my time in Congress, I had the honor of serving for nearly 20 years as a federal prosecutor fighting organized crime and corruption, while putting violent criminals behind bars. With a deeply held belief that law and order is essential for a functioning society, it’s unnerving that as a nation, we are now seeing the highest spike in murder rates in decades. Of further concern is the lack of fortitude from Democrats to address this problem. Not surprisingly, this is largely occurring in Democrat-run cities.
Frequently, the left falls short in acknowledging the significant levels of violence against people and property occurring across the country, including in Portland, Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco. Democrats have spent years defunding, disarming, and demonizing law enforcement while progressive prosecutors in places like New York City are picking and choosing which laws to enforce. Additionally, activist judges are releasing repeat offenders on little or no bond, and in communities like the one I represent in Central New York, fatally flawed bail reform laws have put dangerous criminals back on the streets and prevented judges from considering public safety when making critical bail and pretrial release decisions.
If Democrats wanted to address the crime crisis, we would see them taking action, but right now they seem to care more about deflecting. The truth is that violent criminals are emboldened by soft-on-crime policies and a lack of consequences. Progressive prosecutors across this country are intentionally disregarding their duties to represent the people and protect our communities. They are disregarding the law and putting criminals back on our streets.
As a former federal prosecutor, I can tell you that those who eventually become hardened criminals do not begin by committing felonies. Allowing property crimes and misdemeanors to go unchecked breeds a culture of permissiveness, leading perpetrators to eventually commit more serious offenses. In major cities, there continues to be large-scale, organized smash and grab style thefts. Crimes like these must be taken seriously.
But this is not only an issue specific to low-level crime. There has been a troubling pattern of lawlessness across the United States. Over the past year, I have spoken to law enforcement in several cities and communities across the country. I was consistently told that progressive prosecutors and a pervasive antagonism towards police stoked by the left is contributing to brutal increases in violent crime. Criminals feel emboldened by the defund-the-police movement while cops are continuously restrained by woke politicians.
After decades of working hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers, I can say with certainty that they are facing some of the toughest working conditions I’ve ever seen. Many are opting to take early retirement or pursue other careers due to the difficult nature of the job and lack of public support. Tragically, a record number of police officers were killed in the line of duty last year while doing their jobs and working to keep our communities safe. Make no mistake, anti-police rhetoric has contributed to this dangerous environment and played a major role in fueling America’s crime wave.
No matter your political party, support of local law enforcement needs to be a priority. As a nation we must hold our elected officials accountable and make sure our police departments are well-funded and supported by their prosecutors.
Katko represents the 24th District of New York and is the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.