There is no petty crime – especially when it happens to you
There’s nothing petty about petty crime. Tolerate it, and society descends into disorder.
Stand in line at Starbucks and watch a freeloader walk past, choose a sandwich and walk out without paying. Nobody says a word.
Or you pay your bills, then find out that thieves have stolen the USPS blue box to get away with your verification information and drain your account. This happened to me last week.
Thieves take mail out of the box or use stolen USPS keys sold on the Internet. They may use nail polish remover to erase and replace the payee and amount of a check, or they may use the details to counterfeit other checks.
This crime increasesbut the police and the banks shrug their shoulders and advise to go directly to the post office or to use electronic banking.
Walk into a pharmacy to buy deodorant and toothpaste. They are locked behind glass. A distraught Duane Reade employee explained why: shoplifters come in, fill bags with merchandise and exit. Management forbids employees to arrest them.
Banks and retailers are forced to accept these crimes as a cost of doing business. Law enforcement officials are reducing sentences for many crimes. But the public is shaken and rightly so.
Allowing so-called petty crimes – shoplifting, carjacking, turnstile jumping, check forgery and vandalism – is a choice. California led the way by passing Proposition 47 in 2014 to reduce the penalties for these crimes. Many other states followed, and unsurprisingly, crimes increased.
Prosecutors are too ready to attribute victimization to the perpetrators rather than the rest of us, who are disgusted and intimidated by lawlessness.
You’d think Jean Lugo-Romero, arrested after robbing five San Francisco Walgreens stores last May and June, would be in jail by now. Absolutely not. the the city’s public defender’s office says that “as an indigent individual suffering from housing instability”, Lugo-Romero “needed services, and he now gets them”.
Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced in 2017 that he would stop prosecuting the farebeaters. Now a steady stream of them walk right past the cops while us buggers pay to get on.
Vance’s successor, Alvin Bragg, caves in even more to criminals, refusing to jail armed shoplifters.
Wielding a pocket knife, William Rolon, 43, was arrested two weeks ago for stealing $2,000 worth of cold medicine from a Duane Reade in Manhattan, his 39th arrest overall and the second time that it hit this store. But he was only charged with misdemeanor shoplifting, not first-degree theft, the charge he would have faced before Bragg’s changes.
Worried about locking your car at a red light? There is a good reason. Carjackings have doubled and even tripled since last year in big cities. “New York has become the city of the carjack,” an NYPD official told the Post.
It’s harder to get an Uber or a Lyft because gig drivers quit. More than a third do not feel safe, found Pew Research.
But apparently city leaders don’t believe prosecuting the carjackers is the answer. In Chicago, only 4.5% of offenses incur costs. In Minneapolis, it’s a disheartening 2%. Many Minneapolis councilman blames automakers Hyundai and Kia because cars can be broken into without an alarm sounding.
Anything to avoid blaming the criminal.
California Governor Gavin Newsom appeared at the Los Angeles rail terminal on Sunday, the target of repeated looting. Standing amidst the trashed packages, he said, “I don’t think anyone particularly cares who is to blame.
Wrong, Governor. Your message invites more crime.
To restore civility, voters must elect serious crime fighters. New Yorkers could stand a chance with newly elected Mayor Eric Adams, if his actions match his words.
On Tuesday morning, Adams said “we can’t continue to create an environment in our city where anything goes,” including farebeating and shoplifting.
Californians have not recalled Newsom, but they are battling to recall ultra-leftist prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The fate of these cities hinges on voter choice by leaders determined to crack down on all offenders, not just murderers.
Because no crime is minor if it happens to you.
Betsy McCaughey is a former Lieutenant Governor of New York.