Your Turn — ‘We got soft on crime’

Published 8:05 pm Sunday, October 9, 2022

“We got soft on crime.” This was the quote from the Mayor of Roanoke. He was referring to restrictions placed on law enforcement by his fellow Democrats when they had complete control of the General Assembly and Governorship for two years. He was lamenting that stop and frisk is not now an option to protect citizens from questionable folks at the wrong place at the wrong time.

You can decide if that should occur. My greater concern is that law enforcement has been handcuffed. Many traffic laws were deemed secondary offenses. These are issues that were passed into law for the safety of all; such things as jacked up vehicles. (We reversed that one this year, but not soon enough to avoid an innocent death.) Imagine an officer that sees a dangerous situation and cannot stop to even warn a driver.

Meanwhile, the news media is starting to note the higher rate of crashes on our roads. They haven’t connected the dots. With fewer checks for drunk drivers and reckless driving, they will eventually. Three hundred people died in Virginia by vehicle-related traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022 (a 72% increase from the same period in 2021) according to preliminary data.

Soft on crime? Murders on the rise

The report for 2021 indicates that many major crimes increased last year. According to the data, murder rose by 6.4%, violent crime was up 7%, while rape increased by 14% in Virginia. 2022 is tracking to top the records from last year.

Often, we hear about how dangerous cities are. They are but consider how Virginia cities rate. Petersburg rates worst with the highest percentage of their population, followed by Richmond which had more murders but with a larger population. Danville ranked 10th in number of murders. Compare these numbers to other cities around the country. Interestingly, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore are not in the top ten in per capita murder rates. That honor goes to St Louis, New Orleans, and Detroit. Those three cities together, however, have about the same number as Chicago’s 771 body count.

Why?

There are many reasons that we’re soft on crime. This is happening in both the issue of murder as well as what is happening on our roads.

  1. Lack of respect of others. In an earlier era, neighbors and strangers alike treated others by the golden rule they learned in church – treating others as you wish to be treated.

2. No respect for life. At one time abortions were rare; today 20% of pregnancies end in abortion. When life is not considered sacred, we have a problem.

3. Lack of enough law enforcement officers to rein in those who ignore the law. This is a result of the loss of respect for officers. It began with the national movement to defund the police. Led by street mobs that took over cities such as Seattle and Portland, city officials chose to accede to the demands of those mobs rather than confront them as they robbed, burned, and murdered. Many officers have chosen to quit or retire rather than be caught up in the politics of city halls. Most departments are shorthanded.

4. The mindset of some prosecutors is to choose to not prosecute some crimes, to plea bargain serious crimes to lower charges, and finally to release those arrested back onto the street with little or no bail as they await trial.

5. In Virginia, the previous administration pushed legislation to allow violent criminals to be released from prison much earlier than they had originally been sentenced. This was done with no evaluation of their current desire to live an upstanding life. They also did not hire and train enough parole officers to monitor their behavior once released.

6. Drugs. Many that prey on others do so because of their dependency on drugs. They will commit whatever crime need be to get the money to maintain their drug habit.

7. Loss of hope for a brighter future. Some have gone through the motions of attending school with no understanding of why. They never developed a vision of what jobs are available with the proper training. Without that vision, why should they care about the consequences of not being a good citizen? We cannot solve all of these problems overnight, but we can do better as a society through our churches and schools.

We love to hear from you! You can reach us at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129, or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.