Policing and law enforcement have been under attack for the last year and a half. Calls to “defund the police” are becoming a reality and the average citizen is ultimately paying the price.
Insert San Francisco, one of the epicenters of the “defund the police” movement. Not only are more officers retiring or resigning, meaning fewer cops on the street, but SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin refuses to prosecute most criminals.
Boudin’s slap on the wrist policy, even for many violent offenders, is why two prosecutors in his office – Brooke Jenkins and Don Du Bain – have resigned and are actively working on recalling their former boss.
“Chesa has a radical approach that involves not charging crime in the first place and simply releasing individuals with no rehabilitation and putting them in positions where they are simply more likely to re-offend,” Jenkins explained. “Being an African American and Latino woman, I would wholeheartedly agree that the criminal justice system needs a lot of work, but when you are a district attorney, your job is to have balance.”
According to Du Bain, Boudin picks and chooses what court decisions should be followed and which ones should be ignored, something the prosecutors take issue with.
Combine fewer cops on the street and a DA’s office that fails to prosecute criminals and you get skyrocketing crime in the Bay Area. Things have gotten so bad that residents are now hiring their own private security to patrol their neighborhoods and keep an eye on their properties – you know, the very things law enforcement is (was) tasked with doing.
“We don’t feel safe in our neighborhood,” Marina District resident Katie Lyons told CBS. “And we have an alarm, we have cameras on our property, but we want the extra security of having someone have eyes on our place.”
The once safe neighborhood is now plagued with break-ins, burglaries, and petty theft. In some instances, the homeless are also camping on people’s doorsteps.
The officer the neighbors are using, Alan Byard, patrols the neighborhoods from 8 pm to 5 am. Each residence is charged $65 a month. Byard said the number of clients he has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. He went from 70 to 150 residences in the Marina District alone. And that’s on top of the taxes these people already pay to support city’s law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
“It’s a nice area down here, people are afraid of what’s been going on,” Byrad explained. “They want a safe place to raise their kids. In the last year, I’ve had 10 of my clients move out of the city.”
Who could blame residents for wanting private security? It’s not surprising that people are moving out of the area in droves.
Law enforcement exists to protect us from criminals wanting to cause harm. When politicians choose to “defund” the police – or adopt policies that force current officers out in droves – the average citizen is affected the most. These policies create an opportunities for criminals to prey on the law-abiding.
Lax or non-existent law enforcement places a target on citizens’ back and says, “No one is here to do anything if you break the law. Take whatever you’d like. No one will stop you and no one will prosecute you.” Those who can’t afford the cost of hiring private security protection for their neighborhoods are left to deal with the situation as best they can.
Let this serve as a warning to other towns and their citizens: San Francisco should be a cautionary tale, not a model to emulate.