A few days ago, I noted:
Another big problem is the unintended consequences of government policies to address the pandemic. For example, many local and state governments are releasing lower-level inmates from prisons, to alleviate overcrowding and forestall the spread of COVID-19 in such close quarters. That’s a legitimate health objective . . . but it disregards public safety issues. Those inmates are going to have to start earning a living on the street again, just when almost all businesses have been shut down under quarantine. What are they going to do? You know as well as I what they’re going to do – they’re going to revert to a life of crime. I expect a massive increase in petty crime, and perhaps more serious offenses as well, as the newly released try to get money any way they can. Even worse, some jurisdictions – for example, St. Paul, Fort Worth, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc. – are no longer giving priority to lower-level offenses. They might as well issue licenses to criminals to commit them! It’s no wonder panicking people are trying to get their hands on guns, by hook or by crook. The odds are pretty good that some of them will need them, sooner rather than later.
Furthermore, I commented yesterday, in connection to the illegal drug trade:
It’s good to have independent confirmation that my law enforcement sources were telling it like it is. I often hear things from them a week or more ahead of any mention in the news media, because cops and agents are much closer to events “at the bleeding edge” of crime than are journalists. I’ll have to send beer money to my buddies as a “Thank you!” gesture for keeping me ahead of the game.
I’ve been chatting to those same law enforcement sources since posting that yesterday, thanking them for the good information they gave me on the drug situation. They have interesting things to say about a growing crime wave in many major centers – one that’s going unreported by both the authorities and the mainstream news media.
To summarize it briefly, many of those who are accustomed to buying drugs with the proceeds of panhandling, begging and minor crime are finding their usual fields of endeavor have become barren. With most people staying at home, there aren’t nearly as many drivers, pedestrians, shoppers, etc. to approach for money; and many stores are also closed, making shoplifting of higher-value items almost impossible. Supermarkets are overcrowded and under-stocked, and besides, stealing a jar of mayonnaise or a tin of peas isn’t exactly going to bring in a lot of money. Therefore, many of the aforementioned drug buyers are turning to residential and property crimes to fund their habit. They’re snatching anything left out in gardens; ringing doorbells and aggressively begging for – or, rather, demanding – money; stealing parcels that are delivered on doorsteps and left unattended; and breaking into cars parked on the street, looking for valuables left inside them. There are also reports of threats of violence to homeowners and others who try to stop them.
The gangs who have, until now, made a living from selling drugs in the “hood” are also hurting, because (as noted yesterday) there aren’t as many drugs available to sell. They’re trying to compensate by increasing their prices – but, as noted above, many of their regular clients can’t afford even their regular prices any longer. Other buyers are taking the quarantine seriously, and no longer venturing into the shadier parts of town to buy drugs. Therefore, the gangs are also turning to other forms of crime to make up the shortfall in their income. Many of those newly released from prison, most of whom have no other way to make a living, are said to be doing the same.
Finally, with the closure of schools, large numbers of urban youth are wandering the streets. They don’t have a stable nuclear family to keep them at home, and the one parent they have (if they’re lucky) doesn’t have enough money to buy them what they want in the way of entertainment. They also have no pocket-money or other discretionary income. Result? They’re looking for cash any way they can get it. Shoplifting in some cities is becoming endemic, with “flash mobs” of kids looking for whatever they can score; and even closed stores are being broken into. As the Second City Cop blog comments about Chicago’s feral youth:
Those [stores] aren’t boarded up because they’ve been looted. Those are boarded up to protect the empty stores from crowds of otherwise unoccupied CPS students who are out of school for the next thirty days.
Groot’s CTA is giving them easy access to an empty Mag Mile….and that is going to further stretch already thin CPD resources, because the governor’s and mayor’s declaration to stay home is falling on deaf ears and empty skulls.
All this is said by my contacts to be fueling a significant rise in crime against families and their homes; but they warn that you won’t read about it in the press, because the police aren’t keeping official track of what they consider to be minor offenses. (See the links provided in the first quoted paragraph above for details.). Besides, it would be politically incorrect for their politician bosses to have to report that. Second City Cop notes that the grasshoppers are raiding the ants, in this case attacking shipments of goods arriving at stores (they’re referring, of course, to Aesop’s famous fable, and also to its modern reshaping). Little, if anything, is apparently being done to apprehend those responsible. (That job is made more difficult, of course, by the number of police personnel also affected by coronavirus infection and/or quarantines.)
An ancient conundrum is to ask, “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make any sound?” Well, if crimes are committed, and nobody records or reports them, is any crime actually committed? You and I know darn well it is – but it’s not politically correct to say that in these “enlightened” times.
I strongly suggest that we should all look to our homes and our neighborhoods, and be prepared for any low-life “grasshoppers” that come around looking for easy loot. Thanks to all the criminals being released from prison over concern for the spread of coronavirus, there are a lot more of them out there than usual. The authorities that are releasing them don’t want to talk about that, of course. It’s a very inconvenient truth.
EDITED TO ADD: Cincinnati, Ohio, has just joined the long list of cities and jurisdictions whose police forces are no longer responding to a laundry list of what they consider to be minor crimes. Sucks to live there if you’re the victim of those crimes! Click here for more information.