Across America, a surge in violent crime is plaguing our communities. Roaming 80-person gangs of criminals are ransacking businesses in broad daylight. Domestic terrorist groups like Antifa are firebombing federal court houses and police departments. And woke prosecutors are allowing the criminals perpetrating these acts to be released back onto the streets – and in some cases – on the very same day they were arrested.
Ending this out-of-control crime wave must be a top priority at every level of government – federal, state, and local. Parents want their kids to be able to ride their bikes around the neighborhood or play at the park without fearing for their safety. Families want their local law enforcement agencies to have the resources and support they need to take violent criminals off the street. But a radical group of politicians and prosecutors who subscribe to a soft-on-crime ideology want us to believe that “everything is fine” because they know the crime wave is directly tied to their agenda and reckless calls to defund the police.
The effort to defund the police is contributing to a culture of lawlessness, making it more difficult – and dangerous – for our brave men and women in law enforcement to do their job. We’ve seen the radical calls for defunding the police by leaders and politicians who themselves are protected by a law enforcement security detail or private security. These same people could care less if defunding the police makes our communities even more dangerous – their only priority is their personal safety. Their rhetoric is also hypocritical – they are vilifying the very same men and women they would immediately call for help in the event of an emergency.
Washington Democrats are turning their dangerous rhetoric into action. House Democrats passed legislation that would cut federal grant programs for law enforcement agencies and get rid of a federal program that helps police departments acquire life-saving equipment. That’s absolutely unacceptable, especially at a time when many police departments are struggling to hire new officers or purchase new radios and better protective gear because budgets are stretched thin.
Radical woke prosecutors are leading the fight at the local level to advance a soft-on-crime agenda. They’ve instituted things like zero-bail policies that put suspected criminals back on the street as they await trial. Just how dangerous is this ridiculous policy? Well, a California district attorney found that more than 70% of suspects released on the zero-bail policy between 2020 and 2021 in his county committed new crimes. Instead of focusing their attention on getting violent criminals off the streets, woke prosecutors are wrongly going after innocent people like the owner of a bodega in New York City, who was charged with murder after he acted in self-defense and took down a dangerous individual who violently attacked him unprovoked.
Tragically, the number of intentional killings of law enforcement officers is at a two-decade high. Each of these heroes’ lives were cut far too short. My heart goes out to their loved ones who miss them every single day.
Here in southern Missouri, we have the utmost respect for our men and women in blue. We thank them for their selfless service and show our gratitude for all they do to keep us safe. As a strong advocate for law enforcement, I will always fight to ensure they have the resources and tools they need to do their job. House Republicans will support 200,000 more police officers through recruiting and retention bonuses, oppose any and all efforts to defund the police, and crack down on woke prosecutors who refuse to take criminals off the streets. With the right leadership and policies, we can end this crime wave and make our communities safe again.
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith is the area’s state representative for the 8th Congressional District