Blue Pennsylvania: Larry Sings the Blues

These emails do not normally concentrate on Philadelphia, but since suburban conservatives like to evoke the name of Larry Krasner as a cautionary tale of what their communities might suffer if Democrats are elected to office, it might be beneficial to bring some balance to the negative press that Krasner has received, such as one troubling article about the DA’s office that appeared in the Inquirer last month.  Readers of that article may remember this chart of arrests and convictions for the possession of illegal firearms:

The chart is somewhat deceiving because the left side shows raw numbers while the right side gives percentages based upon those numbers.  If we converted the percentages to raw numbers, the chart looks more like this:




The chart shows convictions undulating around 800 while arrests have skyrocketed.  In 2019, illegal gun arrests climbed 27% from 1371 to 1746.  While convictions during that time also increased, they were not nearly as precipitous as the arrests.  But one question that nobody is asking is why was there such a steep increase in arrests in 2019?  While gun sales soared in 2020, gun sales for 2019 showed a very modest increase of less than 1%.  The increase of arrests therefore appears to be the result of a policy change, and if the policy is for the same number of police officers to make more arrests, does the quality of those arrests suffer in a way that would render these cases more difficult to prosecute?  
 
Such questions have not prevented Krasner’s opponents from using the data to place the city’s increased homicide rate on the shoulders of the DA’s office.  Yet even the 34% increase in gun arrests in 2020 failed to keep pace with the 40% homicide surge in the city in 2020; and while Philadelphia’s homicide rate was second only to Chicago’s, most large cities, including Omaha and Fort Worth, with Republican DA’s, have had a greater percentage increase in homicides in 2020 over 2019.

Above chart furnished by David Mosenkis

Criminals rarely consult conviction statistics before committing a crime, but their access to firearms undoubtedly is a major contributor to violence.  In that regard, Krasner has been the only District Attorney to enforce a city ordinance designed to keep illegal weapons out of the hands of criminals by holding gun owners liable for unreported lost or stolen guns.

We are currently experiencing an increase in violent crime, but it is not because of the number of convictions, diminished prison population or because unscrupulous police officers are for the first time being held accountable for their actions.  If you believe that justice and safety are not mutually exclusive issues, please consider volunteering to elect Krasner as the Democratic candidate for District Attorney.  You can help by clicking here.

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