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D.C. Democrats’ Latest Criminal Justice “Reform” Failure

Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2024
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by AMAC Newsline
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37 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley

mayor bowser of D.C.

After the Washington, D.C. City Council decriminalized street vending without a license last year, shoplifters began ransacking stores and then setting up stands to sell the stolen goods – sometimes mere feet away from the businesses they just robbed. But while even far-left Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser has called on the council to reverse the decision, councilmembers are incredibly blaming police for rising theft.

In April of last year, the D.C. City Council unanimously passed the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act, billed as an “overhaul” of street vendor laws that would “remove red tape” and allow more people to sell food and other items to make a living or earn extra income. Democrats on the council complained that police were “harassing” street vendors and argued that someone should not have to have a special license to be a street vendor.

Less than a year later, the result has been complete chaos on the streets of the nation’s capital.

As one local D.C. news outlet reported on January 5, dozens of stores around the city have been completely emptied by thieves. A Target in Columbia Heights now requires anyone under 18 to be accompanied by an adult. Many drugstores and corner markets have entirely bare shelves.

On January 10, one man in D.C. was arrested for robbing the same CVS store six times. At another D.C. CVS location, robbery is so bad that, instead of displaying products for sale, the store displays framed photos of the products.

But the thieves aren’t going far. Thanks to the city council’s decision to decriminalize street vending, many are simply walking a few blocks and setting up open-air black markets to sell the stolen goods at a heavy markdown – cash only, of course. Another local news station, Fox 5, interviewed one of the street vendors, who claimed that he got several bottles of detergent for sale at a “flea market.”

In another shocking display of just how brazen the thieves have become, fliers posted on lamp posts throughout Columbia Heights called on shoplifters to “unite” and target a local Safeway store.

Overall, theft was up 23 percent in D.C. in 2023 over 2022 numbers, with a grand total of 3,470 robberies and 13,349 other instances of theft last year.

The problem has gotten so bad that Mayor Muriel Bowser – an avowed leftist who signed the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act last year – has called on the council to reverse the legislation.

But the Democrats on the city council have showed no intention of doing so, and have in fact doubled down while blaming police for the sale of stolen goods. In a post on X, Councilman Phil Mendelson noted, “It is still ILLEGAL to sell stolen items. It is up to the police whether they want to enforce the criminal law.”

In a comment to Fox 5, D.C. Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton said that Mendelson’s comment shows “he has a very limited understanding of the unintended consequences of his misguided legislation.”

“Phil Mendelson voted for and passed The Street Vendor Advancement Act of 2023, which decriminalized illegal street vending and prohibited MPD from engaging in street vending investigations and enforcement,” Pemberton continued.

While the problem has become particularly acute in D.C., it’s hardly unique to the nation’s capital. In blue states across the country, organized retail theft has become a major problem.

A 2023 Forbes survey of small businesses lays bare how bad things truly are for retailers, in particular smaller stores. 90 percent say they have experienced theft at least once at their stores, while 83 percent describe theft as “at least a somewhat major issue.”

Small businesses with less than 20 employees were most likely to experience theft, with 21 percent reporting regular robbery at least a few times a week. Only five percent of small businesses say they have never experienced retail theft.

Even more alarmingly, 88 percent of small business owners said shoplifters had become more violent and aggressive. To offset their losses, 64 percent said they were forced to raise prices, while 50 percent paid to install cameras or other security measures.

According to the National Retail Federation, theft cost the retail industry $100 billion in 2021 – more than twice the $45.2 billion cost reported in 2015. That figure likely only increased in 2022 and 2023 as the country witnessed shocking scenes of organized gangs of shoplifters rushing into stores and leaving with armfuls of stolen merchandise.

Yet like the D.C. City Council, Democrat leaders in other blue cities and states have refused to acknowledge the connection between shoplifting and policies that make it easier for shoplifters to both escape accountability and profit from their crimes.

Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.

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William Hodge
William Hodge
1 month ago

How does the least intelligent politicians continue to rise to the surface in these third world, predominantly black cities? Is it that what should be normal citizens lack the pride and dignity to take their cities back from these political evil doers?

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 month ago

Good DC needs more crime esp in the Federal areas
Feel for the average DC citizen
BUT Hey Mayor wants more crime
Carjack the Senate, House, State Dept, FBI, CIA etc

Moonpup
Moonpup
1 month ago

Is it any wonder that the DImocrats want to make the District of Corruption the 51st state?

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Democrat run cities are cesspools but I really don’t feel bad for the ppl living in them: the majority elected it and they keep voting for it, over and over again. The literal definition of “insanity”!

A Voter
A Voter
1 month ago

This is not a failure for Democrats. It is not only a rousing success, it is part of their plan. Create as much chaos as you can then implement total lock downs and finalize the conversion of The United States into a communist police state.

Jeri
Jeri
1 month ago

LOL…hahahahahaha…LOL. They ALL deserve each other and the cess pool they live in.

Linda
Linda
1 month ago

Can’t expect much to be different as it’s a dem run place. No law and order only create all the chaos they can.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Does Phil Mendelson’s ‘Street Vendor Advancement Act of 2023′ give street shoppers carte blanche authority to take whatever they want from these street vendors at no cost or penalty of prosecution?
If someone sees a street vendor ripping off a store then selling that product, what law could be enforced when a shopper just walks off with goods from a street vendor?
I don’t know of any law that would prosecute theft from a thief! But leave to the moronic democrats to come up with one should criminal street vendors start getting ‘ripped off’!
What goes around eventually comes around. Some call it Karma!

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

this is a coordinated effort to destroy the black community Rather than leading them into prosperity and success they promote the descent into hell Who does that? Why isn’t it seen for what it is This is not what MLK had in mind But then we all are led into the same hell hole

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
1 month ago

Laws create criminals and lack of law enforcement creates chaos. These bad decisions by lawmakers will only result in vigilantism and businesses defending themselves in unlawful ways due to anti-gun laws. The goal is to create so much chaos and unlawful actions that those in government control can claim justification for creating militaristic forces to “protect” civilians. It’s how Socialist nations have become Communist and how dictatorships are run.

BillBoy Baggins
BillBoy Baggins
1 month ago

I can think of one security measure retailers have not tried, a pump action shotgun loaded with rock salt.

Robin
Robin
1 month ago

How sad it is. I see so many comments here blaming the democrats for much of the problems in the cities and elsewhere. Yet, how many here have voted for democrats? How many here voted for Joe Biden because of President Trump’s mean tweets? But let’s get back to the democrat run cities and crime. Most of these cities are run by Black mayors and council persons. By passing these ridiculous laws, they are helping and protecting their kin folk. That’s why they won’t reverse the laws they pass, even if their legislation destroys their cities and the businesses that serve their constituents. Oh, but stop, we can’t say that because it is “racist.” I say it’s time to tell them to stick it ! ! !

BettyShea
BettyShea
1 month ago

Why not arrest the looters ? I am sure there are legit hard working vendors out there!!!! Do not punish them !!

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 month ago

D.C. democrats have an I.Q. of a fart in a dust storm. They have done nothing but give free rein to criminals and blame everybody else for their failures. Sound familiar?

John
John
1 month ago

…and they want to make this dysfunctional city run by morons a state?

Homer
Homer
1 month ago

I could care less that the urban sewer rats are eating each other.

David
David
1 month ago

This is an easy fix for the stupid people in Washington DC that keep on voting in communist Democrats, who are nothing more than Marxist wannabes. Get rid of them, including mayor Bowser, who is a typical black communist woman who doesn’t know what she’s doing and driving Washington DC into the ground like all other black communist women across our country

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Sometimes you just can’t help STUPID.

Sally Duncan
Sally Duncan
1 month ago

The deal is that living in a city where living quarters are so tight is tantamount to driving people insane. Move out of the cities and you won’t have that problem.

Harry
Harry
1 month ago

Problems are all in Liberal Marxist run cities. Period!
Tells me DEI leaderdhip has failed. For DC? Maybe they should have been on patrol in their city on J6 rather than out helping the FBI instigte and participate and organize a fraudulnt riot???

Nevadavic
Nevadavic
1 month ago

Philosophically, DC politics is aimed at the weak mindset. As in all regions of under educated citizens , socialism (☭) is attractive until the money runs out. Then the real issue of someone being forced to produce occurs. Then the fighting begins. This is the real goal of the democrats. They’re aim is to take over by chaos, frustration, and financial consolidation. Examine the structure of take over in the various areas turned ☭. Argentina, Sweden, Vietnam, Russia, Cuba ????????, etc.

Madmax24
Madmax24
1 month ago

Here’s some food for thought. If the IRS is taxing everyone else to death you would think they would at least tax the street vendors too. I know this is round about thinking but kids can’t even set up a lemonade stand without someone wanting to tax them too.

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

1

Lisa Skinner
Lisa Skinner
1 month ago

What a s$!t show

CLIFFORD F GERACI
CLIFFORD F GERACI
1 month ago

So very typical of the Progressive Socio fascist Democrats to create a problem then use Big Government to come up with “solutions” which make matters worse and when all else fails ……blame someone else. Sadly….with their ability to “buy” votes…they just keep getting voted into power and getting stronger and stronger…..SAD

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