More than 30 ATMs in Philadelphia have been targeted by looters using explosives to try to break into the machines over the past few nights, and police are expressing growing concern after more than a dozen U-Haul trucks and several propane canisters were stolen from a business Wednesday evening.
Fox 29 reporter Steve Keeley alerted residents to the fact that the riots and looting have taken an even more destructive turn in a series of tweets on Thursday morning.
3/3 Van “with M-type explosives, kind being used to blow up ATMs”stopped at Logan Circle by Basilica&Franklin Institute. MAJOR concern among local&federal law enforcement “Were the U-Haul &propane tank thefts possibly linked? If so, What were they planning/thinking? @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/5raKo7SAaM
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) October 29, 2020
The escalation in tactics on the part of rioters shouldn’t surprise those who’ve been paying close attention to Philadelphia this year. Going back to March and the first surge in COVID cases, Chief Danielle Outlaw, Mayor Jim Kenney, and D.A. Larry Krasner have all taken a hands-off approach to crime that’s left criminals emboldened and law-abiding residents afraid for their own safety. Concealed carry applications have surged in Philly in recent months, though the city’s been accused of slow-walking applications and is currently being sued by Gun Owners of America over the year-long wait to apply for a concealed carry license.
Over at HotAir, Jazz Shaw notes another tweet by Fox 29’s Keeley that demonstrates the unwillingness of city leaders to take the threat to public safety seriously.
Yesterday when police announced the number of arrests in the Mon-Tues looting,charges were for “burglary”. And in the directive, @phillypolice point out no calls for burglary will be responded to by the dept.&officers think that leaves no deterrent to stop looting @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/2AyhIyV7O7
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) October 28, 2020
As Jazz says:
Steve Keeley’s wording is significant in a couple of ways. First of all, he’s not just hearing complaints about this order from rank and file officers out on the streets. He’s also hearing carping from police commanders. So who would have the authority to give this sort of a “stand down” order to the entire Philadelphia Police force? The announcement says that it came from “CAR-2” but that’s Melvin Singleton, the Deputy Police Commissioner. Does anyone honestly think the Deputy would issue an order like that on his own?
No, that order had to come from the Commissioner herself, Danielle Outlaw, who we’ve discussed here on many occasions. It had to be either her or Mayor Jim Kenney, possibly a joint decision between the two of them.
As you may recall, Danielle Outlaw took the office of Police Commissioner on a promise to “put an end to the incarceration nation” that we all supposedly live in. She’s been one of the biggest proponents of the “empty the jails” movement in the country. When the pandemic hit, she quickly used that as an excuse to speed up her efforts to put as many convicts back out on the streets as possible.
Back in March, Outlaw said that police would no longer be making arrests for “low-level crimes” like theft, so this new directive to disperse looters instead of arresting them isn’t coming out of nowhere.
It’s also unlikely to reduce tensions. Things seem to be getting worse in Philadelphia, not better, over the past few nights, and though federal officials are making some arrests in the city, it’s ultimately going to be up to local officials to deal with the growing violence. Honestly, if I lived in Philadelphia, I’d be looking to leave, because it’s clear that city leaders have absolutely no plan or desire to stop the mayhem through arrests and swift legal consequences for rioters and looters.