Rule Five Shoplifting Friday

Denver’s own Mike Rosen was, for many years (including most of the thirty or so years I lived in the Denver area) the 800-pound gorilla of talk radio in the Mile High City.  I always enjoyed his show, and in fact was an in-studio guest for two hours in 2001, after Misplaced Compassion hit the market.  He’s a brilliant guy, engaging and fun to talk to, and while he’s semi-retired now he still turns to the keyboard and says what he thinks about things.  Here he explains to us how crime really does seem to pay these days.  Excerpt:

The Rite Aid pharmacy chain has announced that theft in their New York City stores has cost the company $5 million, just in the last quarter.  They’re now considering putting literally everything behind glass showcases and are even hiring off-duty police officers for security in some of their stores.  The NYPD reports that petty theft has increased 42% in the city this year while robbery is up 37% and burglary up 32%.

In other big cities governed by Democrats, crime rates are soaring thanks to progressive district attorneys, some whose election campaigns were funded by radical left-wing, America-hating billionaire George Soros.  These DA’s allow criminals charged with violent crimes awaiting trial to be released without bail on their own recognizance with the effect that too many continue to commit other crimes.  One such DA, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, was actually removed from office after a recall election in June.  This, in one of the most liberal cities in the country.  We need a lot more of that, as well as not electing such people in the first place.

A recent report from Colorado’s Common Sense Institute finds metro Denver to be among the nation’s worst venues for soaring crime rates. Colorado ranks 1st in motor  vehicle theft in the country, with multiple cases of car thieves using those stolen vehicles to commit other crimes, and then stealing yet another car to commit more crimes.  All this while they’re released on bail — or without!

Denver (and Colorado) have sure changed since I moved to that area in 1989.  Back then Colorado was still South Wyoming in most places, although Boulder was already Hippie Heaven and Denver was showing the first signs of descent into lunacy.  But it’s only gotten worse; I loved Colorado for many reasons but boy, howdy, did we ever pick a good time to leave.

Mr. Rosen continues:

A basic principle of economics and human nature is that what you punish you get less of, and what you reward you get more of. Yes, some first-time criminals can be rehabilitated and programs devoted to that can be useful. But the problem is with repeat offenders, amoral, sociopathic criminals. Crime is their business. It’s what they do for a living. Think of Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster. Criminal-coddling policies of unrealistic, progressive social justice warriors in government include early releases from prison, reduced sentences, decriminalizing serious offenses, downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, and eliminating bail. This has made crime pay for criminals who feed on law-abiding citizens, while progressives make the thin blue line ever thinner.

In other words:  Incentives matter.

Government really only has two legitimate functions:  To prevent other people from harming me or taking my stuff.  Or, at least, to provide redress in the event someone does harm me or take my stuff – and that government should stay off my back if someone tries to harm me or take my stuff and I defend myself with force.

Government in the cities mentioned by Mr. Rosen here, as well as in most major American cities, have failed in all three of those areas.  They handle criminals with kid gloves; they provide little in the way of redress to the citizenry when appealed with the clean away at least the worst repeat offenders, and heaven help you if you exercise your right to self-defense.

So, assuming the trend continues in our major cities, one can only wonder what comes next when the municipal governments, who have primary police and prosecutory powers, continue to fail in what is one of their few legitimate duties.  At best, the citizenry takes matters into their own hands.  At worst, the thugs rule the streets.  It’s hard to see any middle ground here.