Crime isn’t just in Democrat-run cities—it’s in your backyard, too

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The tony town of Greenwich, Connecticut, is not a place where people typically get mugged in broad daylight. And yet earlier this month that is exactly what happened as a woman left the Apple store and was attacked by two men looking to relieve her of her pricey purchases. 

Suburban crime is not something we think much about, but in these times we should. In 2021 there were 51 homicides in the burbs outside Minneapolis and St Paul, double the number for the previous year, and this is not an outlier. Crime in the America of picket fences and ice cream socials is on the rise. And there is no hiding it.

Take this story from the Washington Post with its headline blaring “New York City is a lot safer than small town America.” It’s not hyperbole, we tend to think of the nation’s crime problem as a particularly urban blight, but it isn’t. The rise in anti-social behavior knows no urban border, as crime gets out of control it drifts to our small towns and suburbs. 

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There are experts about such things, so I asked one about it, as one does these days. And Rafael Manguel, author of the new book “Criminal (In)justice What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing gets Wrong and who it Hurts Most,” told me this, “While crime has traditionally been (and largely remains) hyper concentrated in a given jurisdiction, reports of increasing disorder and crime in jurisdictions typically known for their comparative safety may help move the needle in an important way.”

Indeed. There are political issues that we think about and political issues we feel. You feel inflation, when the groceries are fully scanned and the big number shows up your gut reacts. 

Crime is like that, too. You feel safe or you don’t. 

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I was eating a burger at Salty Dog in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, a neighborhood with more cops than a “Batman” movie, and a guy says to me the other night, “I won’t let my wife or daughters take the subway, if they need to go somewhere, I pay for an Uber.” 

I get it, but it’s not a solution, nor, it appears, is moving to the ‘burbs. It’s been 30 years since crime was really a pressing issue for Americans but polling today puts it front and center. Here in New York our Republican candidate for governor, Rep. Lee Zeldin, was attacked while giving a speech and his assailant walked out of jail hours later. It’s just how it is. 

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The sentiments of my burger buddy were echoed at the Yale Club the other night, a venue that occasionally tolerates me, overhearing a conversation about crime a woman chimed in to say, “We know how to do this, to fix this, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.” And of course she was right. Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Ed Rendell fixed Philly and Gotham in about 10 minutes with good policing. We did fix this problem in the 1990s, but is there the political will to do it again?

Andrew Giuliani, a Republican candidate for governor, is joined by his father, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during a news conference, June 7, 2022, in New York.

Andrew Giuliani, a Republican candidate for governor, is joined by his father, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during a news conference, June 7, 2022, in New York. (AP/File)

A basic sense of safety in the place where you live is not something that can be elided or eluded by the political class. Listen, when the guy at the pub in Bay Ridge and the lovely older woman at the Yale Club are both talking about the same thing, it’s a thing. 

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Whether it’s true or not, we have sort of collectively decided that the suburbs are where elections are decided. OK. If the people there are worried about their own safety, we will see a sea change in American politics. School board meetings will pale in comparison. 

It’s been three decades since Americans really worried about crime. It’s back, not just in Baltimore and Chicago, but everywhere. Any politician not hearing what I am hearing should be wary. Basically, you have one job, keep us safe. You’re failing. 

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