Francis Suarez, Mayor, Miami, FL
Published April 27, 2023 10:00am EDT Fox News
The successive waves of crime and rioting across American cities are unacceptable.
The recent surge in crime reflects a larger and tragic tale of two types of cities. It’s a tale between cities that invested in their police versus cities that defunded their police.
It’s a tale between two types of cities, where elected officials believe that the rule of law and public safety are the foundations of a free and prosperous society; versus another type of cities where elected officials fail to uphold the law, refuse to enforce the law, and blame those who follow the law, from police to small businesses, as the causes of crime.
In Miami, we chose differently. We took a very different path from these other cities. We increased funding for our police, growing our police department to its largest in our history. The result: crime dropped to one of its lowest levels in Miami’s history. We deployed the most advanced technology that we could afford to equip our police and to protect our residents.
Today, Miami enjoys the lowest per capita homicide rate since 1964. Because public safety is everyone’s responsibility, we worked with community partners and law enforcement to ensure that every crime is prosecuted, every victim is protected, and every case commands the best technology to convict criminals.
But it takes using our resources to target the very core criminal class. According to The New York Times, the same 327 individuals were responsible for a third of New York City’s reported shoplifting crimes. This underlines the need for more, not less technology, to enhance policing and to uphold accountability. In Miami, we’ve also invested in our online presence to address misinformation and forms of violence. Funding our police remains as critical in preventing the type of activity that drives violence or destruction of property. We can prevent a small yet active group of criminals from committing an array of crimes. A well-funded police force with advanced technology disrupts crime.
Miami’s record stands in stark contrast to the events of the past month in other American cities. We can no longer ignore the obvious: the defunding of the police by elected officials across the country has made us less safe and less free. It excuses violent crime and the destruction of property. When laws are not enforced or not enforced robustly, it creates a space for a relatively small, concentrated group of criminals to unleash a great deal of violent crime, robbery, and a range of street crimes that make us less safe. A permissive society is not a civilized society; it’s a decaying one.
Mayors and all law enforcement partners need to recommit toward upholding the law and enforcing all laws. If so-called “social justice” organizations, which oppose public safety policies or which attack police, can involve themselves in shaping the outcomes of local district attorney races, then all of us must step up and support pro-police and pro-public safety candidates.
We must meet the funding of left wing, anti-police district attorneys with funding from pro-police and pro-public safety organizations that support the rule of law, public safety, and the protection of the vulnerable. If mayors are held responsible for the crime levels in their cities, then they should hold district attorneys accountable in every local race where it affects their citizens and the quality of life in their cities.
The successive waves of crime and rioting across American cities are unacceptable and inexcusable. The solution is simple: invest in your police, invest in bettering policing, and hold everyone accountable for their actions. This wave of crime must not be the wave of the future. In Miami, we have a template that works. We can do much better, and for the sake of every victim and every family, we must start now.
Mayor Francis Suarez is mayor of the city of Miami. He is also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.