A growing number of Democrats — from San Francisco to Baltimore, and Seattle to New York — are pivoting to “tougher on crime” rhetoric and policies, breaking with the police reform movement largely catalyzed by George Floyd’s killing. Part of the shift stems from concern over homicides and carjackings, The Washington Post reports, but it might also be an attempt to immunize themselves against GOP attacks.
If the shift toward a more aggressive approach to law enforcement feels familiar, that’s because this isn’t the first time prominent Democratic leaders have made it. In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, authored by then-Senator Joe Biden and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. The legislation, Vox reports, was an attempt to address record-high levels of violent crime in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Democrats also attempted to use the bill — which many criminal justice activists say was the key driver of mass incarceration — to maneuver the issue of public safety away from Republicans.
From Our Team
In Philadelphia, a city-run violence intervention program appears to be getting results. Launched amid an alarming uptick in gun crimes in 2020, the Group Violence Intervention program takes a “focused deterrence” approach, offering social services to people who may be involved in gun violence and warning them of the consequences of breaking the law.
The city recently announced that an independent University of Pennsylvania study showed GVI significantly reduced gun violence among participants over a two-year period. The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean breaks down how GVI works, who’s behind Philly’s approach, and what’s next for the program.
What to Know Today
The FBI arrested a man who threatened to kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer, other Democrats, trans and queer people, federal agents, and “anyone who tries to take my guns,” in videos posted to YouTube. The man’s mother bought him multiple firearms despite a history of mental illness that disqualified him from owning a gun, according to the criminal complaint. [Detroit Free Press]
Denver mayoral candidates have campaigned heavily on concerns about crime and policing — but as the city struggles with rising homelessness, continuing Covid risks, and record traffic fatalities, residents wonder why some dangers matter more than others. [Colorado Newsline]
The Baton Rouge Police Department makes some officers sign nondisclosure agreements, barring them from discussing misconduct investigations and disciplinary actions, among other things. [The Advocate]
An alleged “Boogaloo Boi” charged with a firearms offense is on the run. Federal authorities have been looking for the man — whose extensive criminal record prohibits gun possession — since they found three rifles and a collection of pistols during a January raid on his home. [Rolling Stone]
Florida’s permitless carry legislation excludes open carry, to the chagrin of many gun rights proponents. In a video published over the weekend, the lawmaker behind the bill got into a heated exchange with an apparent activist: “Maybe we just pull the whole thing,” state Representative Chuck Brannan said in frustration. “Then y’all can say, ‘Well, we pissed them off and we didn’t get nothing this year.’ How about that?” [Florida Politics]
How can we prevent school shootings? Researchers in Colorado say teaching students to report warning signs, establishing anonymous tip lines, and identifying the causes behind concerning behavior could help. [YES!]
9 — the number of school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths so far this year. There were 51 such shootings in total last year. [Education Week]