What a difference a year can make. Last summer, at least six of the city council members in Providence, Rhode Island publicly backed defunding the city’s police department, and while the department is still standing (and officers actually got a pay increase in the latest budget), it took some time for the defund the police movement to die down.
Now, I think it can be considered officially dead, at least based on recent comments by City Council President John Igliozzi, who’s putting the onus for the city’s rising crime where it belongs; on criminals themselves.
“We need to make sure that all criminals feel unwelcome in our city,” Igliozzi told NBC 10 News on Sunday. “Also, we’re going to be looking for almost ‘demands’. One, of course, we’re looking for a police academy to begin immediately. We’re also looking to bring back community policing. We also want them to enforce all of the laws — ATV laws, all the laws.”
Igliozzi says the city’s Public Safety Commissioner needs to step up his game or “step aside,” and the council president is blaming the city’s mayor for several missteps over the past year.
“We know of two policies that have been very public. One, the mayor’s disbanding of the gang unit,” he said. “And the second one, of course, is the ATV riders where there’s a no-chase policy. Or, if you don’t do a no-chase policy, then you need to provide a different policy on how to address it.”
If you tolerate some crimes, you should expect more of them, and that’s exactly what’s happening in Providence right now. Last week, a brutal assault by a number of ATV riders led to one woman being seriously injured.
On Tuesday night, a mob of about 10 ATV and dirt bike riders in Providence allegedly pulled a woman out of her car and beat her.
According to a copy of the police report obtained by ABC News, the 35-year-old victim had honked her horn at the group after they failed to move through two green lights.
As she drove away, some of them opened the driver’s side door, pulled her out of the car and began beating her on the street, the report said.
The incident is just the latest in a string of violent crimes that have taken place in Providence this year.
Last Friday, Providence City Council President John Igliozzi sent a letter to Gov. Dan McKee requesting that Rhode Island State Police troopers be deployed to the city to assist police in confronting the crime wave. Igliozzi also pointed out the lack of staffing in the local police department.
“As you know, the headlines regarding crime in the city of Providence over the last few weeks have been shocking — murders, drive-by shootings, stabbings, gang incidents and roving throngs of ATV and dirt bike riders terrorizing our neighborhoods,” Igliozzi wrote. “This wave of violent crime is unacceptable, and we need to act immediately to restore public safety and make our city’s residents once again feel safe walking and sitting outside in their own neighborhoods.”
I know one thing that can be done to restore public safety and make residents feel safer: encourage them to get their concealed carry license. Unfortunately, the state government has taken aim at legal gun owners instead; earlier this year the Democrats in control of the legislative and executive branches imposed a new law that criminalizes those carry holders who have their handgun on them as they drop off or pick up their kids at school.
Is that going to make anyone safer? Will there somehow be less gang violence because those licensed to carry are forced to stop their car and put their pistol in the trunk of their car before driving on to school grounds? Of course it won’t, but that didn’t stop Democrats from using legal gun owners as their scapegoats for the rise in violent crime that’s taken place thanks to Providence’s rollback of public safety strategies that focus on violent criminals and not legal gun owners.
I’m glad to see the defund the police movement is in tatters in Providence. I just wish that the city would embrace a “defend yourself” movement in its place.