Authored by M.G. Lysiak via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
As politicians continue to debate the cause of the crime epidemic that has seen the descent of many of the nation’s most populated cities into war zone-like conditions, increasing numbers of businesses and residents have turned to private solutions in effort to reclaim their neighborhoods.
Pastor Corey Brooks, Executive Director of Project H.O.O.D, a Chicago-based non-profit seeking to end violence through individual empowerment, says that after decades of hoping for solutions from public officials, residents of crime-ridden cities are no longer waiting on empty pledges of safer streets to be fulfilled.
“Politicians all make promises that if we vote them into office they know how to make our communities safe, meanwhile, it just keeps getting worse,” Mr. Brooks told the Epoch Times. “This is a crisis. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for the government to come in and save the day. The people are beginning to understand that this is a problem the government can’t solve.”
“If we are going to end this violence on our streets, it’s going to come from the people, not another government program.”
For several years, crime in major American cities has remained at crisis levels.
The surge in thefts, harassment, and violent crimes experienced in cities nationwide during much of 2020 and 2021 had been expected by many experts to be a temporary blip as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and reaction and aftermath to the death of George Floyd. However, more than a year after officials declared an end to the COVID-19 emergency and officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death were convicted and sentenced, lawlessness continues to persist at a high level.
In Washington D.C., homicides are up 15 percent compared to a year ago with the city on pace to surpass 200 for the third year in a row. Carjackings in the city have also seen a spike with police reporting 140 incidents in the month of June, the highest in more than five years.
Earlier this month, Washington D.C. City Council member Trayon White, who represents the Eighth Ward, held a press conference where he told reporters that federal troops would be needed to restore law and order.
“The crime is out of control and getting worse by the day,” Mr. White said at a press conference. “We must declare an emergency regarding the crime and violence in our neighborhoods and act urgently. It may be time to call on the National Guard to protect the children and innocent people that are losing their lives to this senselessness.”
Foreign countries have also taken notice. A July 24 tweet from the Mexican Consulate urged its nationals to “take precautions” while visiting the nation’s capital due to “a significant increase in crime in areas previously considered safe.”
In San Francisco, the problem has spiraled so far out of control that some workers are now being told to stay at home, as opposed to risking the commute to work. An Aug. 2 memo from the Department of Health and Human Services advised federal employees to avoid the office at the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building, due to drug use and rising crime in the area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Videos posted on social media of nearby streets show coroner’s vans picking up dead bodies, drug needles littering the streets, and piles of human feces scattered across public sidewalks.
In Los Angeles, the sight of “flash mobs” composed largely of youth rampaging through retail stores has become the new norm. On Aug. 13, a Nike store was robbed in broad daylight by a group who walked out with thousands of dollars worth of apparel. On the same day dozens of people stormed the Nordstrom store at the Westfield Topanga Shopping Center, making off with more than $300,000 worth of items, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Last weekend in Chicago at least 40 people were shot, seven fatally, including at least four teenagers, one just 14 years old. Overall, the city has experienced a 50 percent increase in shooting victimizations of school-aged youth 17 years and younger since 2019, according to The University of Chicago Crime Lab.
As crime escalates and police resources dwindle, regulations have limited the options for city residents to protect themselves. For the vast majority of those living in major American cities, the ability for a resident to legally own a firearm ranges from difficult to nearly impossible. Some communities have responded to the rise in crime by pooling resources to hire their own security to patrol their streets. Over the past year, several neighborhoods in Chicago, San Francisco, and Baltimore have brought in private security amid a spike in thefts and carjackings.
In Los Angeles County, protection dogs are in high demand among the more affluent residents, some of whom have been willing to spend as much as $150,000 on a dog, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Blame for the metro crime epidemic has broken down largely on political affiliations, with many on the Democrat-left attributing the spike to economic and racial inequality while many on the Republican-right claiming the problems stem from cuts to funding for police departments and policies of liberal district attorneys who have curtailed cash bail, placing criminals that would formerly be behind bars back out on the streets.
However, according to Mr. Brooks, the real root cause of the lawlessness isn’t the result of bad public policy from either the left or right, but more so from the breakdown in family—specifically, a lack of male role models prevalent in many inner city communities.
“The first epidemic we have to confront is the one of fatherlessness. Eighty percent of the black households in Chicago are single parent households and a lot of these young men are growing up without fathers, without male mentors. It’s vitally important that other men step up and provide the role of mentors at a really early age,” said Mr. Brooks.
In creating a network of mentorship for at-risk youth, Mr. Brooks claims to have already seen promising results in his community, noting that in one area where his program has been implemented crime has decreased by nearly 50 percent.
“We are seeing violence at alarming rates. It calls for all people to have all hands on deck if we are going to figure out how to stop it. The solution isn’t found in D.C. It’s found in the community and in the home.”