In this issue of The McCullough Report, we have some grave news about a concerning set of developments that have taken the COVID-19 crisis response and its consequences to the world to a whole new level. With the backdrop that free speech and scientific discourse is...
Asheville’s Police Shrug-off City Leaders
Travel Warning to Asheville Tourists: Been robbed? Been mugged? Car break-in? Burglary at your house or hotel room? Purse snatched? Don’t bother calling 911 in Asheville, North Carolina. They don’t have enough police officers to protect you. The Asheville police department is rationing its available officers to respond to violent crimes. They won’t respond to 911 calls about theft and fraud.
My prediction? More crime and more violent crime in Asheville. Why? Because when you don’t deal swiftly with lesser crimes, criminals are emboldened to commit more and bigger crimes, including crimes of violence.
Why? With fewer police officers on the streets, the criminal’s chances of being caught are small. Soon Asheville may rival San Francisco as the shoplifting capital of the United States. Add burglary and fraud, and Asheville may even be number one. Now the Social Justice activists on City Council can brag about how lawless their city is. To visit the most lawless city east of the Mississippi, bring your six-shooter!
Why Did All The Policemen Leave?
How did this come about? Law Officer reports that Asheville Police loses 40% of officers after ‘defunding.’ Police officers are resigning quicker than they can be replaced. The British newspaper The Daily Mail reported: Asheville Police Department Police Chief David Zack says the attrition rate, which has accelerated since protests against law enforcement became widespread in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May of last year, has reached crisis proportions.
Heavily progressive and Leftist Asheville is not a police-friendly town. Result? Without waiting for a major “defunding” of the police, officers left the force. They didn’t wait to be laid off, they “defunded” themselves! There are now only 167 officers out of 238 budgeted positions.
Why Does It Matter?
When you don’t punish small crimes, the criminals begin committing bigger and more violent crimes. Soon your city is unsafe for normal citizens, children, and tourists. Keep in mind; the Asheville economy is largely based on tourism. When tourists are afraid to come, the tourist dollars don’t come to local hotels, B&Bs, gas stations, and restaurants. Fewer dollars equal fewer jobs.
This was demonstrated long ago with Broken Windows Theory, first advanced by criminal justice researchers James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982. The theory was tested by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton.
Encyclopedia Brittanica explains:
In 1994, when he became New York City police commissioner, Bratton introduced his broken windows-based “quality of life initiative.” This initiative cracked down on panhandling, disorderly behavior, public drinking, street prostitution, and unsolicited windshield washing or other such attempts to obtain cash from drivers stopped in traffic. When Bratton resigned in 1996, felonies were down almost 40 percent in New York, and the homicide rate had been halved.
The theory was tested and proven to be true. Felonies and murders were dramatically reduced.
Defund Police? Be Careful What You Wish For.
The Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper reported (before the 2020 election) that one candidate running for City Council wanted a 50% cut in the police budget. She also said that policing was inherently violent and originated in “slave patrols and property protection.”
It was talk like this from candidates and other members of the Asheville city government that sent a signal to police officers… ‘you are not wanted.’ So, they began leaving the force. The Bob Dylan song Subterranean Homesick Blues said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
Are Police Officers Shrugging?
Like the giant Atlas who held the world on his shoulders in Greek myth, police officers enable us to go about our daily lives in safety. They hold a world of law and order on their shoulders. When they are taunted and disrespected, they grow weary. When they shrug off their burden by resigning, the fragile world of law-and-order falls from their shoulders to the ground and shatters.
What do the shattered pieces of a shattered world look like? A wild-west world where you have to protect yourself. With no gun-toting police officers to settle disputes and stop criminals, you’ll have to do it yourself. The result will be more violence, not less, as citizens take the law into their own hands by default.
City Government Will End Up Defunding Itself
More shops will close as criminals learn that 911 doesn’t apply to theft. The city government will be defunding itself as the tax base gets smaller. Just ask San Francisco, where 17 Walgreens stores closed after California legalized shoplifting by making it a misdemeanor. No more sales or property taxes from those stores. My previous article on America Out Loud told the Walgreens story: “Are Businesses Shrugging A New Economic Virus?”
This “shoot myself in the foot” approach to virtue signaling could be self-correcting. But will it? As Asheville and other “defund police” cities experience more crime, more businesses will shut down as they did in San Francisco. No business equals no reason to live there. People will move out of these high-crime /few-business areas. Whole neighborhoods could become deserted ghost towns, as we saw in Democrat Party-controlled Detroit. Ghost towns don’t need police.
Towns and cities with police to protect life and property will flourish. People want to live where they feel safe. The problem is, if the people who move away don’t connect the dots, they will repeat the process all over again. If they want to sound “socially virtuous” and call to defund the police in their new town, then they will repeat this dangerous mistake. Will they ever learn from their own experience?
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