Cynthia Nixon: Why are we locking up shoplifters?

Cynthia Nixon: Why are we locking up shoplifters?
(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

On the subject of crime in New York City, most of the attention is given to the surge in gang violence, shootings and murders. That’s understandable since those are the types of crimes that tend to keep the law-abiding population frightened and off the streets or out of the subways at night. Fewer headlines speak of the lower-level crimes that have also been flourishing since last summer. Shoplifting has been out of control, leading some small businesses to close permanently. Other stores have taken to locking up their smaller, more easily pocketed items or moving them behind the clerk’s counters to deter would-be thieves. Owners have been complaining to the police regularly and they’ve recently started cracking down and arresting some of the perpetrators. This led actress and former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon to complain on social media about theft prevention strategies and prosecutions. (NY Post)

The “Sex and the City” star tweeted her outrage over shoplifters being prosecuted amid reports that Walgreens was shuttering 17 stores in San Francisco because of rampant theft.

“The CVS on my corner has started locking up basic items like clothing detergent,” the one-time wannabe New York governor tweeted Saturday.

“As so many families can’t make ends meet right now, I can’t imagine thinking that the way to solve the problem of people stealing basic necessities out of desperation is to prosecute them,” she wrote.

One candidate for District Attorney quickly directed the appropriate amount of side-eye toward the actress.

This isn’t the first time Nixon has been seen peddling this sort of nonsense. She did quite a bit of it when she attempted to take out Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary a couple of years ago. There was plenty of talk about how prosecuting shoplifters was an act of “criminalizing poverty.” And if any store managers attempted to stop a shoplifter who happened to be a person of color, they were quickly branded as racists on social media, and boycotts of their businesses were demanded.

The end result was many stores simply telling their security personnel and clerks to just look the other way. Once the word got out on the street that the candy store was open, looters began going on shoplifting sprees brazenly, screaming at and threatening any employees who dared to say anything. This wound up shuttering a number of the more posh boutiques in Soho.

This is the sort of madness we’ve been seeing for many years now from liberals who insist on conflating “social justice” with crime prevention and prosecution, and Cynthia Nixon has become a figurehead in these efforts. For those who seem to be having a hard time reading the fine print, here are a couple of gentle reminders. Stealing is wrong, no matter how badly in need you are. If you are in dire financial straits, there are social service programs and charitable organizations out there that can help. Simply walking into a store and stealing what you need only leads to the store going out of business and more workers losing their jobs, leading to even more poverty. It’s a vicious cycle.

Arresting and prosecuting people who break the law is part of the system that discourages criminal behavior rather than incentivizing it. Arrests and prosecutions in cases where the suspect is a person of color do not make those actions “racist.” This is particularly true if you remain silent when an equally poor white person is arrested and prosecuted for those same crimes. If this description seems to fit you, perhaps you should consider looking in the mirror and asking if you aren’t actually the racist after all.

Cynthia Nixon is a well-educated person (she has a B.A from Barnard College) who has managed to be very successful in life. You would think that the realities I’ve just described would be obvious to her. And yet this spreading tide of so-called “social justice” seems to be turning people’s brains into mush. It would be amusing if the real-world results weren’t so disastrous.

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