By now, it seems that everyone in America has seen the video of one of San Francisco’s serial shoplifters stuffing a giant bag full of beauty products as he scoots a bicycle down the aisle and nonchalantly out of the door of a Walgreens. It’s become the video symbol of what’s wrong in some of our country’s largest cities: a total lack of fear of and disrespect for the law.
Not everyone is happy about this video going viral, especially some local politicians and their shameless backers. Why? There’s certainly video that depicts much worse occurring in our city. Videos of fentanyl addicts, bent over at the waist, unable to walk, talk, or do much more than sway their bodies. Videos that depict third-world conditions, human beings sleeping in their own waste, skin over-exposed to the elements, self-condemned to sidewalk suffering as the rest of the world goes by.
So, why are the Chesa Boudin’s of the world so afraid of this video? Because the crime shown is so brazen yet so fundamentally basic that the entire world can see how bad it is. Because the complete lack of fear or concern for being caught is so vivid, no one can dispute what we’ve been saying for too long: criminals no longer are afraid of arrest and prosecution.
While the rest of the nation was in shock by what they saw in that video, San Francisco residents and San Francisco police officers see this all the time. In fact, we’ve seen worse. This, however, is one of the few times when others were watching, and the anti-police, pro-criminal crowd is ducking for cover.
Why are they ducking for cover? Because the narrative sold to voters is being exposed on national television. Think back for just a minute to when Chesa Boudin pushed for the mass emptying of our county jails. Beyond acting on health policy, Boudin repeatedly highlighted that crime was going down despite letting criminals run free. He concluded with a victory dance at the end of the year celebrating a 23% drop in crime. He did this despite the fact that the crime reduction was obviously linked to the city being effectively closed for most of 2020.
Crime reduction became a talking point for his speeches and public communication. The pro-Boudin publications began repeating the mantra, jails are empty, and crime is down. They all ignored the fact that shootings were exploding across the city. As San Francisco residents, mostly people of color, were bleeding out on our city streets, they turned a blind eye and celebrated a manufactured victory.
As the city opened, however, crime exploded. Instead of being down 23%, it’s narrowed to about 2% and continues to escalate. Larceny, the key driver of overall crime stats for our city, skyrocketed up 52.5% when looking at May 1, 2021 (approximate opening of the city) to July 18, 2021, compared to the same period for 2020.
As this occurs, they continued to repeat, “crime is down, crime is down.” Rather than shoot straight with the public and put together a plan to address the rise in crime, Boudin and his backers turn on the SFPOA and any news reporter (yes, they’ve vilified the media too) who states the simple truth: crime is rising and it’s getting worse. Those concerned about crime are now either racist, sensationalist, or both. When you cannot dispute the facts, you personally attack your opponents.
The adage goes, “you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” Boudin and the abolish-the-police crowd chose to use crime stats as their sword, taking broad swings to cut down the most basic public safety protections. Now they’re crying foul when that same sword is swinging back at them.
At the very moment the crime stat sword began to swing in the opposite direction, Boudin faced a true test of his leadership. Could he admit he was wrong, reach out to those he ridiculed and despised, and work toward a solution that put our resident’s public safety interests first? It turns out he couldn’t. Test failed. However, unlike his Ivy League background, his failing grade doesn’t equate to a bad report card; it equates to more crime victims and a more dangerous city. We all are worse off because of his failure.