The Inquirer editorial board wants us to “work together to combat crime.” That’s a fine idea, but it is hard to understand why they failed to direct their request to the only political player in the region who isn’t already working to stop crime: Larry Krasner.
The proximate cause for this editorial are recent statements from law enforcement officials in Camden and Abington critical of Krasner and his tactics, which have resulted in crime spilling across the city lines and into their jurisdictions. People in the communities surrounding Philadelphia have begun to commit one of the cardinal sins against the progressive left: noticing things. If crime is spilling over into the suburbs since Krasner took office, the Inquirer wants you to know that mentioning that fact is the problem.
The real problem here is that the underlying assumption is right — crime is bad and needs emergency help. Philly’s problems don’t stay within Philly’s borders. As we’ve written before here at Broad + Liberty, crime is up sharply in the four collar counties, but is almost flat everywhere else in Pennsylvania. Of the four suburban counties, Chester has come through the best, and we doubt it’s a coincidence that it doesn’t directly share a border with Philly.
READ MORE — Philly voters worry about crime, but are wary to embrace “tough” approach
For a worthy example of where everyone seems to cooperate except Krasner, look no further than a 2021 effort between Philadelphia and law enforcement officials in Delaware County to talk about the city of Chester’s success in lowering its homicide rate.
While it’s true Krasner was not invited to the conference, the resulting dustup was telling. Once Krasner let his hurt pride show, he and Mayor Kenney traded insults. Clark let it slip he didn’t invite Krasner because of his recalcitrance, saying he “doesn’t wait around for other people to act.” The coup de grace was when neighboring DA Jack Stollsteimer told reporters that Philly could replicate some of that success, but that he had “never heard from anybody in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office” in his then-almost two years of service.
Or, again in 2021, when Philly Police didn’t invite Krasner to a press conference, and the reasons became clear as law enforcement began to talk to the media. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw could barely conceal her frustration that city police were making more gun arrests, but those arrests weren’t translating into convictions.
Beyond that central flaw, the editorial does a disservice to the Inquirer by playing fast and loose with statistics. After all this unity talk, the authors take a swipe at the rest of the state, noting that “rural counties have a higher rate of gun deaths than cities.” But any literate person can see that the link they provide to support this point includes all gun deaths, including suicides, which have always been higher in rural areas.
That’s a real problem, but it is not the problem we’re being called to unite against. Deaths of despair in any part of the country are sad and serious, but they aren’t what is driving violent crime across the region. (Credit to the editorial board, at least, for providing a source.)
But all this back-and-forth illogic is just par for the course in any cry for “unity” amid political division. “Unity” and “working together” never means a compromise in which each side gives a little to get a little. No, a call for the region to “work as one” always means everyone should stop thinking, stop debating, and just do what the author wants.
Content-free cries for unity are just demands to get everything, give nothing, and end all debate. That’s not how governance works in a free country — nor should it be.
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