Sweltering heat, high humidity, and being caged like animals due to the COVID-19 pandemic is essentially what Governor Phil Murphy from New Jersey is blaming for an increase in crime. Colleague Tom Knighton, who is no stranger to heat or humidity, recently touched on the SOS that Atlantic City, NJ’s council sent out to the state police due to the rise in crime. Strange enough, Knighton, like most of us in America, is not acting out because of heat, humidity, and the pandemic. That’s not to say these things do not affect people, just noting that I don’t personally know people that are acting-a-fool just because summer is here. The pandemic is another story.
Before we get dismissive of Murphy’s claims, there is some credence to them. In a 1952 paper written by Gerhard J. Falk entitled “The Influence of the Seasons on the Crime Rate”, Falk opens up with:
One of the earliest studies of seasonal influence on crime was made by a French civil servant, Guerry de Champneuf, who collected some data regarding the crime rate in 86 different French departments. On the bases of these figures he attempted to show the difference existing in various geographical areas, with reference to the number of persons accused of crimes.
It was thus only incidentally that seasonal variation was studied. Nevertheless, Guerry stated some oft repeated conclusions. Says he, “… whereas the crimes against persons are more numerous in the summer, the crimes against property are more numerous more numerous in winter . . .”
This is old news, right? If you talk to any police agency or department, they can corroborate those claims to a degree. But before we go any further, a recent press event with Murphy needs to be looked at in part:
Matt Arco, NJ.com: …Members of the Atlantic City Council say they sent you a letter requesting the state police take control of the local police department in the wake of an uptick in serious violence there. What are your thoughts on their request?
Governor Phil Murphy: …I’ve not seen the letter. We care deeply about Atlantic City. It’s on that list of communities. As it goes in many respects, so goes New Jersey. We have succeeded in migrating from a boot on top of them, top down in terms of the relationship to a partnership.
I give the Lieutenant Governor enormous amount of credit for being the lead person from our government in that partnership. That includes the whole gamut of interest in Atlantic City, including public safety and law enforcement. We’ll continue to take that extremely seriously. Pat, any comments?
State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan: I would just add after we had that town hall a few weeks ago, Governor, on public safety and public health, that Atlantic City Council Vice-President Kaleem Shabazz has asked me to come on with the council on Thursday, which I will do virtually. We support Atlantic City with an Atlantic City task force, our crime suppression, our Real Time Crime Center that’s down in Gloucester County. We do it.
As far as the notion of sending in marked troop cars, that’s still yet to be determined. It could be certainly on the table. Similar requests are coming to us from our major cities across the state.
Governor Phil Murphy: Listen, it’s not specific, Matt, to Atlantic City, but I kind of alluded to this in the exchange Pat and I had before we took questions today. This is not unique to New Jersey. There’s a lot of behavior right now. I suspect partly, if not a lot, due to coming out from the pandemic; 95 degree, high humidity weather does not help. There’s a lot of kinetic activity in the state right now and in the country.
In Monmouth County we saw some of that over the weekend. This is not just a matter specific to Atlantic City. We’ve seen upticks in gun violence in the state, in the country. We’ve just got to plead with people we get it. Everybody wants to get out there and unshackle themselves from this pandemic.
There is a lot to digest in those comments, and really, read the transcript in full if you’re so inclined. While we’re already aware that as the heat of summer sets in violent crime rises, but how often do city councils have to petition the state governments to “send in the troops”? For Murphy to deflect and say that the situation is “not unique to New Jersey” is just trying to diffuse the fact that there are serious failures in leadership in the Garden State.
The most offensive statement must be “Everybody wants to get out there and unshackle themselves from this pandemic.” What’s interesting about the “shackles” that Murphy alludes to, he in fact put them on the citizens himself. Unless you were one of the unlucky people to have contracted the coronavirus or had to deal with a family member or friend that did, that’s about where the buck stops where the “pandemic” shackled anyone. No Governor Murphy, you put the shackles on the people. Blaming the increase in violence committed via firearms on the people being freed from the bondage you put them in is just hubris. But these sound bytes sound good, don’t they?
Since we’re talking shackles, we have not forgotten the big press event I reported on back in April, where Murphy announced sweeping new freedom limiting measures to strip the people of New Jersey of their constitutional rights. To recap, the administration is supporting bills that would mandate firearm training to simply buy a firearm, mandates that go against the Heller decision on how a person shall store a firearm, raising the minimum age to 21 to buy long guns, instituting microstamping (which does not exist, as proven by CA), banning .50 caliber firearms, and a whole host of other dirty nasty pieces of do-nothing feel good legislation.
Governor Murphy, thanks for your perspective. You helped the population at large realize that we don’t need any more “gun control” laws. Can we scrap your support of more civil-right crushing proposals? If we want to combat the scourge of violence in New Jersey and curb the uptick on gun related crimes the secret is simple. By your accounts, all we need is just some air-conditioning and perhaps some sweet tea. Oh, that and to not have a Governor put us in shackles.