Looting, vandalism, violence, negative nationwide media attention. That is what Los Angeles County is facing because criminals are having a field day in California. But we shouldn’t be surprised when Gov. Gavin Newsom uses COVID-19 as an excuse to implement a zero-bail policy to ensure the perpetrators of most crimes are quickly back on our streets. Making matters worse, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón is refusing to hold criminals accountable and handicapping our police. And to top it off, you have the Defund the Police movement hindering the Los Angeles Police Department, as statistics showed a nearly 200% spike in the homicide rate in 2021.
Put all this together and it’s the perfect recipe to destroy our communities and rob our neighborhoods of the security our families should be able to count on.
Keeping our communities safe isn’t a partisan or political issue, but our district attorney is behaving like the Penguin from Gotham City, enabling the criminals time and again. His policies encourage crime, and he has shown little interest in enforcing the law. This is why I have called for Gascón to resign. We need a DA who is more interested in siding with the victim, not the criminal.
We need leaders from both sides of the aisle to be focused on keeping our neighborhoods safe and not giving criminals hope that their crimes will go unpunished.
Just last month, 14 suspects were arrested in L.A. in connection with robberies totaling $338,000 in stolen merchandise and $40,000 in property damage. Thanks to Gov. Newsom’s zero-bail policy, all 14 are now out of police custody and back in our communities.
What are progressive politicians doing in response to the rise in crime?
Gov. Newsom is blaming mayors and local officials even as Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the governor’s policies have been directly responsible for the crime spike. Our District Attorney George Gascón says he bears no responsibility while enacting the REDY program, which takes minors who have committed very serious felonies out of the court system before they have been charged.
The White House is blaming the rise in crime on the pandemic. And then you have radical members of the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, calling for zero-bail and the emptying out of our federal prisons. This pass-the-buck “leadership” and far-left radical approach are exactly why we are here today.
Let’s look at the facts: The far left has been fighting to cripple law enforcement agencies for years. Now as understaffed departments work to confront a rise in crime, it’s no wonder progressive politicians won’t give them any help. Look at Assembly Bill 109, Proposition 47 and Prop. 57: soft-on-crime policies that are actively working to undermine them by affording leniency to perpetrators and releasing them back on to our streets.
While the politicians in L.A. and Sacramento are setting our officers up for failure, I’m doing everything I can to get our community heroes the resources and support they need. That’s why I was proud to take action, co-sponsoring the Public Safety Enhancement Act of 2021 to combat this crime surge with 100,000 more police officers on our streets in the next five years.
My stepfather was an L.A. Police Department officer, and I’m honored to represent a community that appreciates our brave men and women who are ready and willing to put their lives on the line to keep our neighborhoods safe.
I grew up around these heroes. I live next door to them. And I’ve had the chance to work with them in the past year as Sheriff Villanueva and I led the largest drug bust in our nation’s history. We saw firsthand the large-scale illegal marijuana grow operations being run by multiple cartels right here in our backyard in the Antelope Valley, and we acted.
Watching these brave men and women showed me we needed to do more to combat this issue. That is why I got to work to secure more funding for our local law enforcement and joined forces with the Drug Enforcement Administration, so they too are involved in solving this crisis. We need every elected official, regardless of party, here in California and in Washington to have skin in the game when it comes to stopping criminal activity.
In 2020, I was proud to earn the endorsements of Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs Association along with former law enforcement officials such as former ALADS President Dr. Roy Burns, Sheriff Bob Brooks and District Attorneys Greg Totten, Michael Bradbury and Steve Cooley. They supported me because they know I stand with our first responders in the fight against the extremists in Sacramento and Washington.
Progressive politicians want rising crime and looting to be the new norm across America, but I will continue to fight in Washington and here at home because I know we can’t ever let that happen.
Jan. 9 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Let’s be sure to remember and honor the folks who risk their lives daily to keep us safe.
Rep. Mike Garcia represents the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.