President Joe Biden is proposing to spend roughly $37 billion for fighting and preventing crime, including $13 billion to help communities hire and train 100,000 police officers over five years.
Biden will outline his anti-crime program, dubbed the Safer America Plan, on Thursday during a visit to Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
As part of Biden’s plans, $3 billion would be geared toward clearing court backlogs, resolving cases involving murders and guns and setting up task forces to share intelligence, with an eye toward reducing gun violence.
His plan would also impose tougher penalties for fentanyl trafficking amid an epidemic of drug overdoses.
The president also wants to use $15 billion to create a grant program that would fund ideas for preventing violent crime or creating a public health response to nonviolence incidents, aimed at reducing the burden on law enforcement.
The remaining $5 billion would support programs intended to stop violence before it occurs.
To tackle organized retail theft, the plan calls on Congress to pass legislation to require online marketplaces like Amazon to verify third-party sellers’ information, and to impose liability on online marketplaces for the sale of stolen goods on their platforms.
Biden has long rejected some progressive Democrats’ drive to ‘defund the police.’
Polls show Americans consider crime one of the top challenges facing the country, and Biden is attempting to bolster Democrats in what are expected to be closely fought midterm elections in November that will determine whether they remain in control of Congress.
Republicans are trying to gain leverage in November’s midterm elections by portraying Democrats as unwilling to confront crime problems.
The Democratic president will request the money from Congress as part of his latest budget proposal, according to senior administration officials who previewed the plan on the condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement.
Several Democrats have changed their tune on defunding the police in recent weeks amid a surge in crime.
Democratic Representative Mondaire Jones of Westchester in 2020 backed calls to defund police departments.
He told Wenonah Hauter, founder of the NGO Food & Water Watch, in an interview in June 25, 2020: ‘Of course we need to end mass incarceration, and legalize cannabis and defund the police.’
And in July that year, he added: ‘Let me go back and say we need to, you know, talk about defunding the police, cutting that funding and reallocating it to social workers, and youth employment.’
But early this month Jones changed tack, saying that ‘black Americans don’t want to send police officers out of their communities.’
Others who have pivoted on the issue include Stacey Abrams who told Axios in June that should increase base pay for Georgia state troopers and other law enforcement officers, if elected November.
In June 2020, she voiced support for the defund the police movement.
Democrat-held cities including New York City and Minneapolis implement defund the police programs following the death of George Floyd, but many have since reversed the policies.
Cities across the nation have seen a drastic rise in crime over the past two years – spurred by the pandemic and recent soft-on-crime policies implemented by woke DA’s who have sought to find alternatives to incarceration.
Seattle has seen a surge in both violent and property crime since the start of the pandemic, with cops already recording 302 shootings so far this year – a 75 percent increase from last year.
In Washington, DC there has already been 93 murders, compared to 82 last year, signaling a 13 percent jump.
Robberies are also up in the nation’s capital by a marked 25 percent.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, has arguably been hurt the most by woke politicians, with its District Attorney George Gascon now almost certain to face a recall election for soft policies.
The City of Angels has seen more people killed by guns during the first six months of 2022 than during the same period in any of the past 15 years, police say – while robberies are also rife, due to lax punishments on repeat offenders.
Gascon has been vocal about his belief that the criminal justice system needs to focus more on intervention and rehabilitation, blasting ‘tough on crime’ policies as racist and a failure.
And following his first 100 days in office, he touted the changes he has made to the city’s justice system – including limiting the use of sentencing enhancements.
The California penal code has more than 100 enhancements that could add time to a convict’s sentence depending on the situation, most of which date back to when California was facing soaring crime in the 1980s and 1990s.
But under Gascon’s reign, the use of those enhancements have been greatly reduced, with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office 5,138 enhancements during his first three months – a 71 percent drop when compared to the same time the year before.
His first three months also saw prosecutors filing only 106 gun enhancements – an 85 percent decrease.