White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed on Thursday that a “root cause” of the smash-and-grab robberies taking place in various parts of the country is the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Big cities are dealing with smash-and-grab robberies. A record number of police officers have been shot and killed this year. What is President [Joe] Biden going to do about all of this lawlessness?” Fox News White House reporter Peter Doocy asked Psaki.
The press secretary responded saying the president has proposed additional funding in his 2022 budget for police departments.
Psaki also said that the Justice Department has established strike forces to help combat criminal conduct in some cities.
“Does the president still think that crime is up because of the pandemic?” Doocy followed up.
“I think that many people have conveyed that and one … of the root causes of crime in communities is guns and gun violence. And we’ve seen that statistically around the country,” Psaki answered.
It should be noted that gun ownership has been going up for decades, while crime has been going down until recent years.
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) September 22, 2016
“When a huge group of criminals organizes themselves and they want to go loot a store — a CVS, Nordstorm, a Home Depot — until the shelves are clean, you think that’s because of the pandemic?” Doocy asked.
Psaki replied, “I think a root cause in a lot of the communities is the pandemic, yes.”
#Breaking About 25 cars just blocked the street and rushed into the Walnut Creek Nordstrom making off with goods before getting in cars snd speeding away. At least two people arrested at gunpoint. pic.twitter.com/AG3R94M9L3
— Jodi Hernandez (@JodiHernandezTV) November 21, 2021
On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump said the lenient policies in Democrat-run cities are the problem.
“If Democrats don’t immediately stop smash-and-grab robberies, which are taking place in their cities, the National Guard must be called out. There has never been such a thing that has happened in our Country. Large numbers of stores are leaving,” Trump said in a statement.
President Donald J. Trump:
“If Democrats don’t immediately stop smash-and-grab robberies, which are taking place in their cities, the National Guard must be called out. There has never been such a thing that has happened in our Country. Large numbers of stores are leaving pic.twitter.com/oNd1adbYsb
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) November 30, 2021
NBC’s “Today” reported last month San Francisco has seen a rash of these heists at retailers like Louis Vuitton, Walgreens and Bloomingdales.
“Until there’s a response, until there’s a political will and legislative efforts to support police efforts to stop this sort of activity, we’re going to see it proliferate and continue,” former San Francisco Police Department Deputy Chief James Dudley told the news outlet.
A study released last month by the Retail Industry Leaders Association found that retail theft ballooned to an estimated $68 billion in 2019, which was pre-COVID.
“Organized retail crime is more than petty shoplifting, and the economic impact has become alarming,” said Michael Hanson, Senior Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the RILA.
“Professional thieves and organized criminal rings are building a business model by stealing and reselling products, increasingly online thru marketplace platforms like Amazon or Facebook.”
Police union leaders say a weakening of the laws related to theft has emboldened criminals.
“When society removes accountability for bad behavior, criminals get emboldened to commit more crimes, drug addicts thumb their noses at mandatory treatment and vandalism and petty theft turn into riotous looting and murder,” the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Craig Lally, told Fox News.
“One does not need to be clairvoyant to have predicted that in California the ACLU’s Proposition 47 would turn a family trip to the mall or a Home Depot into a dangerous gamble for our residents.”
Looters along with the Democrat Party target Home Depot and hardware stores across L.A. for sledge hammers to loot high-end stores throughout L.A. pic.twitter.com/3Af6AOd7Su
— 🇺🇸Robert.N🇺🇸 (@Rob_Noorollah) November 28, 2021
Prop 47, passed in 2014, lowered shoplifting charges regarding the theft of items worth $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors.
Further north, Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told Fox that his city in last month’s election “rejected the socialist anti-public safety agenda promoted by the ACLU, it is no accident.”
“When residents of any city do not feel safe walking down the street, don’t feel safe shopping or traveling throughout their city, then society is broken,” he added.
“The truth is that the ACLU and other like-minded organizations have abandoned all pretense of what is right and wrong and strictly focus on how to help criminals at the expense of crime victims.”