While soft-on-crime policies have been enacted by Democratic officials for decades, the trend has only accelerated in recent years with leftist prosecutors in cities across the United States essentially refusing to punish many criminals and letting more serious offenders off with a proverbial slap on the wrist.
The predictable result, predominantly in big cities and deep blue states, has been a spike in crime of all types.
Of course, similar policies have taken root even in more conservative states — including Tennessee, where Republican Gov. Bill Lee has advocated for more permissive criminal justice policies.
“We have to be creative and innovative and disruptive and challenge the way we’ve been doing things forever,” he claimed in 2019, even going so far as to insist that the state needs to “empty our jails.”
Naturally, the implementation of such reforms led to a statewide uptick in crime, including a homicide rate that nearly doubled between 2013 and 2020.
The Republican-led state legislature, however, was not on board with Lee’s endorsement of leftist policies and responded to the recent crime surge by passing a new slate of recommendations meant to ensure that violent offenders remain behind bars for longer.
According to Department of Justice statistics, the state’s prison population increased by 8% last year, correlating to a 14% decline in homicides. State records indicate incarceration has ticked up another 2% this year.
Violent crime is not the only consideration for states struggling to reverse current trends. Rampant retail theft has caused stores to take drastic measures including locking merchandise behind plexiglass walls or closing locations entirely in high-crime communities.
Here's a revolutionary idea: instead of locking up the merchandise, how about locking up the criminals?pic.twitter.com/fzTSa9vUiX
— •Ɛɱɱყ• (@brixwe) December 11, 2023
Several states have taken on the issue by approving new laws aimed at breaking up organized retail crime rings and imposing harsher penalties on those who commit such crimes. The U.S. Senate is also considering similar legislation on the federal level.
Meanwhile, major retailers acknowledge that if criminals are allowed to continue shoplifting with impunity, prices will keep climbing for those customers who actually pay for their purchases.
Addressing the subject roughly a year ago, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon explained: “If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher and/or stores will close.”