Pelosi on San Fran crime wave: Pray tell, where is this attitude of "lawlessness" coming from?

I can think of a few possibilities. But before everyone dunks on her, let’s celebrate the minor triumph involved in having a top Democrat acknowledge that there is a problem.

Woker progressives aren’t so sure, you know.

And to the extent that they are, they probably think it’s nothing that can’t be solved by throwing more money at the suspects.

This soundbite was a softball to Kevin McCarthy and Republicans and they teed off on it.

There are certain local and national factors fueling San Francisco’s rash of smash-and-grab robberies. Everyone knows by now about the change in California’s law a few years ago making shoplifting a misdemeanor provided that less than $950 in goods are stolen. Reduce the penalty for a crime and you’ll get more of it. Having the famously left-wing son of two Weathermen, a guy who once served as a translator for Hugo Chavez, as the local district attorney is another enticement to offenders to press their luck. It’s a real achievement for a public official to be so soft on crime that he’s targeted with a recall election because of it in San Francisco.

The “broken windows” theory of crime prevention is at play here too. That theory holds that by policing minor infractions more strictly, you signal to serious offenders that major infractions won’t be tolerated. Guess what signal is sent when groups of shoplifters ransack stores and successfully abscond with merchandise repeatedly in broad daylight.

And then there’s the profit motive. Online commerce has made it easy for organized retail theft rings to fence the goods they’ve stolen. You don’t need to take the things you’ve boosted to a pawn shop anymore. Just put them online at a retail discount and wait for the money to roll in. Pelosi herself correctly identified that in further comments today about flash-mob shoplifting: “These people coordinate with each other and they plan traffic patterns and the rest so they can reach their goal and depart very quickly. This isn’t like somebody stealing something to go home because they don’t have money to buy. This is about stealing for profit.”

But yeah, as McCarthy says, the “attitude of lawlessness” is also partly a product of certain political signals sent by certain politicians. And it’s not all due to visible young leaders in the party, like AOC, pushing “defund the police” messaging either. Dan Crenshaw remembered how Pelosi herself reacted when a mob in Baltimore tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus during last year’s summer of protests:

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the toppling of Baltimore’s Christopher Columbus statue on the Fourth of July, saying at a news conference Thursday that, “if the community doesn’t want the statue there, the statue shouldn’t be there.”…

When asked whether the Columbus statue should have been ordered to be removed by the city council instead of taken down by protesters, she said that from a safety standpoint it would be a good idea but said communities should debate the values they want to publicly display.

“People will do what they do,” Pelosi said of the protesters.

Even Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Democrat-friendly Republican governor, was appalled by that callousness:

If that statue were torn down today, I think she’d answer differently. Not because she’s seen the error of her ways and doesn’t want to encourage vandalism by a progressive mob. Rather, it’s because her party underperformed its polling last fall by such a shocking degree that Republicans, not Democrats, might have ended up with total control of government had just a few things gone differently. The broad consensus after the election was that that underperformance was driven by the public’s awareness that liberals sympathized with the rioters who burned businesses in cities like Kenosha. “Defund the police” combined with the socialist chatter from the Bernie/AOC wing was a killer for swing-district Democrats and Pelosi learned it the hard way. That, more than any heartfelt outrage, probably explains today’s firm denunciation of the San Fran crime wave from her and Mayor London Breed. It’s one thing for brazen theft to be a problem for American businesses but now it’s a problem for Democrats. Now it’s serious.