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The New York Times makes excuses for crime … but misses the primary cause

The New York Times makes excuses for crime … but misses the primary cause

America is experiencing a very serious spike in crime across the nation.  Especially hardest hit are the major urban centers.  Everything has a cause — and finding the primary cause is essential to finding solutions.  It is no different than a doctor diagnosing the correct cause of symptoms.  Wrong diagnosis and the problem gets worse.  And that is exactly the situation we have today in terms of crime.

Currently, most of the current crime crisis comes from the policies of the Democrats … the left.  Where crime is at its peaks, blame the folks in charge.  So, it is their diagnosis and their “solutions” that are failing miserably.

A recent online article in the New York Times by German Lopez does a pretty good job of delineating the left’s theories of the causes of the high crime rates across the country.  

Lopez does a good job at showing the scope of the problem.  In one graph he shows that the soaring murder rate across the country has moved up in the past two years (2019 and 2021) from 5 percent to 6.9 percent.  The 2022 rate is on track to be another record increase.

And as bad as the murder rates are, the number of lessor violent crimes is increasing at a faster rate – in some cases doubling previous years.

Yes … we have a crime crisis.  So, what is causing it.  According to Lopez, there are primarily three causes.

The first cause has been the Covid Pandemic.  Lopez argues that the Pandemic and the lockdown “disrupted all aspects of life, including the social services that can tame crime and violence.”  

That suggests that social work successfully fights crime.  I find that to be an unproven theory – but one embraced by those on the left.  It does not explain why crime started going up as the Pandemic hit – and rose even faster and further as the Pandemic eased and the lockdowns largely ended.

Lopez second cause is the number of “high-profile police killings of 2020 and the protests that followed.”  One can argue that the riots that grew out of the protests resulted in a definite spike in criminality – vandalism, arson, looting, assault, battery, etc.  But to suggest that the post-riot street crimes we see every day are some sort of retaliation for the police shootings has an ominous implication.  Since the “high profile police killings” were white officers killing black makes, Lopez is putting the rise in retaliatory crime squarely on the black community.

And finally, Lopez drags out the evergreen cause – guns.  According to Lopez, “Americans bought a record number of guns in recent years.”  It is first important to know that not all felony crimes involve guns.  In fact, guns are Involved in only a teeny-weeny percent of all felony crimes.  Think of those “crash and dash” crimes … the car jackings … home burglaries … assaults.  Rarely is a gun involved.  Even in the case of rape, only 25 percent of perpetrators are armed with a weapon — and fewer with a gun.  

Obviously, a lot of murders (approximately 75percent) are committed with firearms – with handguns the weapon of choice (approximately 45 percent).  Gun violence gets the most attention, but it is not the cause of most felony crimes.  Not even close.  To place guns as one of the three major causes of the overall crime spike is … well … absurd.

Lopez basically provided the leftwing social worker version of the causes of crime.  I will give you the real answer – and it is not complicated.  LACK OF ENFORCEMENT.

If you do not arrest criminals … prosecute them … and dole out appropriate punishment, you will get more crime.  When enforcement is lacking, crime pays.

President Biden says he is against defunding the police.  Of course he is.  Defunding the police is so toxic to the electorate that anyone who proposes it need not run for office.  But Biden is engaging in a bit of a scam.  He favors increasing police funding AND diverting money from enforcement to the soft social worker approach.  That essentially defunds the all-important enforcement – the primary purpose of policing.

What has Biden done to push back on the Democrat policy of NOT prosecuting crimes.  He said nothing when his own Vice President raised money to provide get-out-of-jail-free cards to criminal rioters.  Biden has not chastised Democrat prosecutors who have abandoned their duty in such places as New York City and Los Angeles – prosecutors elected by the radical left of his own Party.  Biden has not offered any significant federal support – boots on the ground – to address the astronomical crime rates in the segregated urban communities.

The Democrat approach is to limit police activities.  Intimidate police into inaction.  Ordering police to stand down in the face of serious and life-threatening crimes – even as they are bombarded with rocks, urine and Molotov Cocktails.  

Recall all those orders from Democrat mayors restraining the police as rioters burned and pillaged?  Remember the Democrat mayor of Portland saying the presence of federal police guarding government buildings was provocative and they should get out of town?  Democrats have spent years undermining public confidence in policing – not just the weeding out of a few bad actors.

Has Biden done anything to vet migrants at the southern border to prevent criminals, terrorists, gangbangers and drug cartels from entering America?  Instead the administration warns local authorities not to take action since border security is a federal responsibility. 

Rather than prosecuting criminals, Biden Democrats want to disempower Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) from doing its job.  They even order local sheriffs not to turn over illegal aliens to ICE.  Democrat mayors offer safe harbors in the name of sanctuary cities and counties.  

Even if you are inclined to be concerned about guns, you have not seen Democrats proposing harsher actions against those who own illegal guns – or commit crimes with guns.  Rather than go after the criminal, the Biden policy is to go after the gun and gun owners – ALL gun owners.  Stopping the legal sale of guns will do nothing to reduce crime.  You must arrest and punish the criminal.

The crime wave we are experiencing is largely caused by lack of prosecution and undermining policing – both are policies benefiting criminals.  The way to reverse the trend is strict enforcement and putting police in the business of tracking down and arresting criminals.  Insistent that prosecutors actually prosecute those charged with crimes.  And judges should had out appropriate sentences.  It is really that simple.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. William

    A big reason for the high crime in New York is the commie gun laws. Hopefully the scotus will make that better soon with the case that’s pending their decision. They will make a good change concerning having to show a good reason for a gun permit. That’s the question before the court. But they might issue a broader ruling. I read the arguments given during the hearing before the court and am optimistic

    • Ben

      New York creates their problems by not enforcing laws and letting predators back on the streets. They should realize that if they go to bed with itchy butts they will wake up with smelly fingers.

  2. frank stetson

    It’s always difficult to pinpoint why crime rises and falls, Larry’s refutation of the NYT piece, IMO, has some validity, some questionability. I am going to parse it into three major categories: us and them, actual causes from the NYT article, and Larry’s musings.

    First, the comments re NYC have little to do with Larry’s article. Bogus really.

    Us and Them: Larry’s bottom line answer is that it’s Biden and the Democrats. At the Federal level, I stand incredulous that Biden could change the landscape in 15 months in office, especially given all the judges Moscow Mitch installed, on the jurisprudence part.
    I get the fact that urban centers are under Democratic rule. For racism, Larry says it’s all locally caused; for crime it’s apparently shared tween local and Federal… But staying with it’s mostly local, once again I wonder how that can be given crime is up, Red or Blue and Larry’s statement that it’s all the Democrat’s fault belies the fact that 8 of the 10 highest murder rate states are Red.
    Eight out of ten top murder rate states are Red “ Note this is a center-left think tank report, but the point is, IMO, this is not just a Blue issue which means Larry’s premise is probably not the only root cause, or even the major ones.
    In sum re Red and Blue, I don’t know but I don’t presume it’s Blue’s fault only and the facts say, in terms of murder, the highest increases are in rural, conservative, regions.

    Actual Causes:
    1. Pandemic. IMO, the pandemic affected crime rates. We know crime is affected by good and bad economies; nuff said. To think it has disappeared magically given a maybe lessening of the covid affect seems premature. IMO, social work can decrease crime too, but I agree, unproven as to what significance.
    2. Riots: Sure, the riots increased crime, but IMO, Larry is spot on that there is zero aftereffect, especially the ones noted by the author, but unsubstantiated.
    3. Guns: I disagree with Larry; one major reason is that more-guns-equal-more-gun-crimes has been proven over and over. Second, Larry makes the unsubstantiated claim that “In fact, guns are Involved in only a teeny-weeny percent of all felony crimes.” IMO, 29%-36% of all violent felonies is not “teeny-weeny.” FYI, violent felonies are about 20% of all felonies making the total felony ratio 5%-7% range, still not teeny-weeny, especially when you consider that any of the non-violent criminals still could be packing. Matter of fact, 20% of all incarcerated had a gun. Then Larry either misspoke, guessed, or is trying to slide one by when he says: “the car jackings … home burglaries … assaults. Rarely is a gun involved. “ Ugh, that’s 45% on the car jackings, not rarely. IMO, we have a gun issue in America and that is too many guns with too easy access for all. And I agree, put stiffer penalties than today on any crime with any involvement of a gun. As in life without parole type penalties.

    Getting winded here :>) I will cover Larry’s musings next time but suffice it to say these mostly jump up to the Federal level and Biden, are not direct retorts to the NYT article, and my starting premise is noted above — nah…..

    Crime rises, crime falls, the economy has a lot to do with it. In this case, pandemic and economy are linked, riots are not, and guns are just the tool to commit the crime. Sure, it’s a tool that makes crime easier, but still just a tool. IMO. We can assess the issue, choose root causes, and then —– one choice is do what Larry says, but that sounds like the Clinton Crime Bill, supported by Biden, which was a cure, and then the disease. IE — it’s an everchanging landscape that we need to constantly evaluate, both existing programs to reduce as well as root causes of the crimes themselves, even in times of low crime rates.

    • Charles

      The thugs using guns are a very high percentage of felons already barred from having guns. The answer isn’t less guns. It’s enforced of the laws already on the books. But the gun rights of honest law abiding people must be respected and protected. Some states already add extra jail time for use of firearms in felonies even if no shots are fired

      • Clarance

        It’s true that the token chosen by Biden has came out in support of rioters and looters that were arrested. Just more evidence that democrats coddles criminals and has a low life cunt like Harris to make it happen

    • larry Horist

      Frank … Frank … Frank…. as usually you take snippet of statistics and patch them to your preconceived notions. You know .. figures do not lie, but liars figure? You refute my claim that guns are used in only a teeny weeny number of felonies by simply discount the vast majority of felonies. You are like these leftwing Democrat prosecutors who simply say that shoplifting, battery, looting, etc. are not crimes to be prosecuted. Felonies in involving guns are very very very very few. You use carjacking as one. But even there more than have to not involve guns. But how may guns are used in shoplifting… a felony. Almost zero. Your cherry picking info to mislead.

  3. charles hollis

    I used to be a professor at a major university. One of the graduate level classes I taught was introduction to research. One year the class was occupied by twenty-one students, one of whom was an upper level senior. I had read an article in a scientific journal on a subject with which I was quite familiar. The paper was not what I considered to be up to scientific standards. Aside from other deficiencies, the literature cited only covered citation of articles published in the previous five years. I copied the materials and methods and results presented in the article, and literature cited, and gave it to this class with the instruction they had to write the the introduction and discussion. Like I said this was a topic with which I was quite familiar and the topic had been researched and discussed as far back as the early eighteen hundreds. What I got back from the students was abysmal and missed all the important points, except for the one upper level undergraduate.

    Larry Horist makes a lot of good points, but he fails to go back to the basics, like the students in my previous discourse. Problems with crime in this country began at least two centuries ago, maybe more. We destroyed Native Americans and their culture in our greed for treasure and land. Margaret Sanger, and her ilk, destroyed our respect for human life with her insistence on population control through abortion, particularly blacks and the poor. In the early 50’s we took God out of our Country, our schools, and most aspects of society. We have replaced respect for others with nonsense. We have very little respect for our Country, for neighbors and, even sometimes, for ourselves. Greed, power, personal comforts, and insensitivity to the needs of others have become our gods. We will never see the 250th anniversary of our Nation unless we go back to our founding principles e.g. those of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, that made this Nation great.

    • larry Horist

      Charles Hollis.You are correct that we are the product of the past. Imperialism and colonialism relied on conquest … ergo violence. But tribalism has been a part of human history forever. Before Europeans arrived in North America, Native American tribes were often in a state of was with other tribes. Same with African tribes. Before nations, it was all tribal — Anglos and the Saxons. The Hans and the Mongols. Shiites and Sunni. Romans and Pagans. etc. In the past, I have written about the “evil” of identity politics. Virtually all world violence is due to the juxtaposition of at least two identities. What I am trying to say is that the conflicts of today are the result of more than a couple centuries ago. Entire cultures have vanished from the face of the earth because of genocidal violence. And just when you think humanity may be making some progress toward peaceful co-existence, Along comes Putin throwing us back to the days of Genghis Kahn.

  4. Ac

    Larry, the Democrats propose legislation aimed at controlling situations in urban areas, increasing coverage on the southern boarder, getting justice for the unfranchised population, and more. However, your Republican friends in government are dead set against Biden and the Democrats’ making progress as expected for a Democratic Republic.
    Your, putting up one so called resource and his intelligence gathering by citing statistics available amounts to no clout at all. He just is some one who happens to come up with ideas correlating with your own.
    When another expresses an opinion through throwing up some numbers appearing like statistics but are without authority to back up a story. It is rated less than a cogent theory. One individual whose view of certain social/judicial problems somewhat parallel your opinion does not automatically render negative judgement on the current Administration and its party.
    As you began this Commentary my thought was when and how will Larry lay all responsibility at the feet of the other party with an assumption the Republican Party is clean. That would be, in the Republicans world, that since the other party’s districts have Urban populations where a lot of the reported crimes come out.
    If any primary lesson should have been learned from the years spent fighting the COVID epidemic it is that, we the people, all Democrats, Republicans, and others are in this fight together. But, it seems troubling and clear, not all of us are in agreement.
    Therefore, the pandemic is still with us, it may well not ever be extinguished entirely. The Republican right are unapologetic and defiant on the pandemic issue. No argument on the point of who are the unvaccinated, testing severely positive, hospitalized, and have a quality of life restricting disability as a result, or died.
    These need not to have happened, if all were on board and truly did our all. Those who did not and are yet not in the continuing battle, have not learned something vitally important from the last two plus years. United in a common cause, we the people will win, over coming the enemy.
    Disunity is destined to failure. We saw unity during the long years fighting the Word Wars and saw victory. America saw disunity over the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts and essentially ale away without a win.
    In the instant case, we the people are involved in a war at home being caught on several fronts. Countless skirmishes are being engaged between fellow citizens in differences amounting to the ridiculousness. To many of these evolves into seriousness with a gun.
    Republicans in office at every level of government and the party in general need to join with Democrats on national issues creating problemse in every neighborhood, county, voting district, and State. Provençal champagnes in States as a show of political strength do so to the detriment of the Union. Which proves the point, lessons from history not learned cause greater harm when repeated.
    Larry, being a part of the problem that separates further, rather than someone striving in the work required in the saving this country. Political parties are needed for democracy working
    Irrational behavior over looked is a disfunction and a public disgrace. including disrespect shown for the several Constitutional amendments taken to the extreme.
    Republicans and there presumed leader are our democracy’s weakest link. A weakness that makes more vulnerable than at anytime since our Civil War.
    Fear mongering very prevalent in your party is propaganda akin to Putin’s with intent looking to this year’s midterms. If anything close to the red party’s statements eventually becomes policy. They will undo any healthy progress in this country after Trump’s reign symbolized autocracy in the White House.
    Russia’s Putin, if he should prevail in Ukraine and be emboldened in his conquest. America had best be prepared. In the present dead stupid mentality of so many, this country is a sitting duck in Putin’s target practice.

    • larry Horist

      Ac. I call them as I see them … and the facts seem to bear me out. A Pollyanna “everyone is to blame” is essentially a “no one is to blame” — and that means no solutions.

    • Perry

      Democrats are progressing us right down the sewer And idiots like Mc are the main reason

  5. John Hewett

    A lack of social services being a reason crime has spiked is akin to saying Keynesian economic policies will cure inflation. Both are perennial talking points for liberals, yet, as Larry pointed out, never proven.

    • larry Horist

      John Hewett … Actually, I think we have seen sufficient evidence that the social services approach to actual crimes has not worked. And I was under the impression that Keynesian economics has gone by the way of the horse drawn buggy.

  6. Randy Moore

    Excellent article by Larry Horist. Unfortunately, common sense doesn’t exist in the Biden administration as he and all his large army of America-hating hacks are too focused on killing this great country than intelligently running it.