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Blaine Traber

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The coronavirus is having some strange side-effects on policies, and none of it is making any sense.

Restaurants are closing. Toilet paper is flying off the shelves. Arrests are being put on hold. Is there an end to the madness the coronavirus has inflicted on our nation? In Philadelphia, crimes are no longer being treated as crimes as law enforcement has been instructed to stop making arrests. No, seriously.

A decree has been sent down from ironically named Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw for police to stop arresting people who commit “non-violent” crimes. They are instead to hold suspects in their cars and issue warrants for future arrest, assuming law enforcement can find them later.

Drug dealers, car thieves, and prostitutes will now be essentially ticketed with an order to appear in court for arrest at a later date, though that is not necessarily described in the warrant they receive. Instead, they will be found when the Commissioner decrees it is okay to book people at the police station again.

The list of crimes that will not yield an arrest and proper police booking include:

  • All narcotics offenses
  • Theft from persons
  • Retail theft
  • Theft from auto
  • Burglary
  • Vandalism
  • All bench warrants
  • Stolen auto
  • Economic crimes
  • Prostitution

It’s understandable that leaders across the country are making an effort to put an end to the coronavirus as best they can. Our EIC even noted in a storythat we should be pleased that leaders in both the public and private sectors are trying to do the right thing. But this particular move seems much more like forced criminal justice reform with a touch of social justice warrior mentality. Crime is crime, and some of the offenses on the no-arrest list seem too serious to deem worthy of release for the suspect.

Philadelphia has a tendency to take radical steps in their quest for a social justice utopia that includes criminal justice reform. But that agenda tends to do more harm to the community and law-abiding citizens than any perceived positives.