More Prosecution, Less Social Services: Voters ID Big City Problems

Dallas voters
Dallas Skyline | Image by RaulCano, Shutterstock

Dallas voters recently shared their opinions on the causes of poverty and crime in large cities such as Chicago, Portland, and Seattle.

In a survey conducted on May 1, The Dallas Express asked residents planning to vote in the then-upcoming May 6 municipal election to rank a list of potential contributing factors negatively affecting these large cities.

According to poll respondents, the number one issue is that crime goes unpunished. The survey results appeared to bear out in the election, with Dallas voters overwhelmingly supporting pro-public safety Mayor Eric Johnson in the recent election.

As reported by The Dallas Express, Mayor Johnson has consistently advocated for law enforcement, arguing against the “Defund the Police” movement and other attempts to subvert proven public safety measures.

In his most recent State of the City address, Johnson claimed that “the foundation of everything we do is public safety.”

“No matter which way the political winds blew, I always put public safety first,” Johnson said. “I fought back against the defund the police movement.”

He condemned the “criminal element,” stating, “They’re not the victims of a flawed system. They’re one of the system’s biggest flaws.”

Still, other public officials have not shown as much appetite for suppressing the criminal element.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, one of a number of district attorneys supported by controversial political donor George Soros, instituted a sweeping policy of amnesty for theft crimes valued at $750 and under, leading opponents to label him “Let-em-go Creuzot.”

However, after community pushback and complaints from law enforcement agencies in the county, Creuzot publicly reversed his policy, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Furthermore, a national study by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund found that since taking office, Creuzot had “lost or dropped 20% more felony cases than his predecessors and attained a significantly lower conviction rate for violent and serious crimes as well.”

Other cities that enacted “soft-on-crime” policies have begun reversing such decisions following growing outrage from the citizens affected by increasing crime, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Respondents to The Dallas Express’ survey selected high taxes and burdensome regulations as the second most important issue affecting cities around the United States. Such a dynamic typically creates an unattractive business environment, hampering cities’ economic growth.

In addition to taxation and regulation issues, respondents also suggested that too many social services were being provided in big cities.

Some cities have reduced funding to law enforcement officers to pay for various social services, such as mental health response teams.

However, funding non-law enforcement (NLE) response teams has been criticized as overly expensive and ineffective.

Former Chief Joel Shults of the National Police Association explained how redirecting taxpayer money from police budgets to non-law enforcement agencies can backfire:

“Reducing funding for law enforcement not only creates a negative value for the alleged cost and time saving from relieving police from mental health response, but it also creates additional risks for NLE who find out they need a police presence.

“… Criminal behavior and mental illness are not always separate from each other. Drug dealing, theft, sexual assault, and domestic violence can co-occur with those in a mental health crisis. If a crime is discovered by NLE teams, would it be recognized or reported?”

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