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In San Francisco and Chicago Crime Pays--Very Well

The cartoon detective Dick Tracy popularized the slogan “crime doesn’t pay.” But that was soooo 1930s thinking. Today, crime can pay big time—especially for criminals in San Francisco and Chicago. 

Here’s a CBS News San Francisco headline from Monday, “Mobs of looters target Bay Area retailers for third straight day.” 

“Witnesses [in the Southland Mall] described some 40 to 50 looters wielding hammers and other tools looting Sam’s Jewelers, breaking glass cases and quickly fleeing. The Macy’s store was also ransacked,” the report says. 

The story ends by saying it was unclear if this robbery was connected to the robbery of the Louie Vuitton store and other stores in San Francisco’s Union Square last Friday, or the Nordstrom’s robbery that included some 80 thieves on Saturday. 

Oh, the report says they also hit multiple marijuana dispensaries in Oakland. 

Now let’s travel to Chicago, where CBS Chicago reported in October that robberies of high-end stores on what’s known as the Magnificent Mile have been going on for more then a year. 

“A stretch of North Michigan Avenue remains vacant and locked up—telling of the struggle on the city’s Mag Mile. Former tenants like Macy’s and Disney are gone, and there are no plans for a new tenant for the old Macy’s space,” according to the report. 

The CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association is quoted as saying, “The impression around the nation is that Chicago is not a very safe place to be. And the incidents we saw this morning, over the weekend, the episodes before that, only feed that.” 

Um, ya’ think? 

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law in July meant to crack down on organized crime targeting retail stores. But the three-day San Francisco loot-apolozza seems to indicate the criminals aren’t worried. 

San Francisco Police Officers Association Vice President Tracy McCray pinpoints a problem. He’s quoted in an Associated Press story, “Exacerbating the situation is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s insistence on dropping or downgrading charges of those caught red-handed that allows those very same crooks to further victimize our communities over and over again.”

At least someone gets it. Progressives in major cities have made a concerted push to reduce or eliminate many criminal penalties and leave or return the criminals to the streets. And it’s become a disaster for businesses and the public. Yet, as if on que, Rep. Rashida Tlaib discusses with Axios her bill to empty federal prisons in 10 years. 

Of all the bad policies that could come back to bite Democrats in 2022—e.g., inflation, higher taxes, identity politics, education, etc.—bail reform and defunding the police may have the biggest negative impact. Criminals may prefer a society where they can prosper and the public lives in fear, but voters don’t.