Rising Crime Rates: It’s Not Just Baltimore

Back in April, I wrote here on PJ Media to speculate on whether, from a police officer’s perspective, Loretta Lynch might be an improvement as attorney general over her predecessor, Eric Holder.  In that piece I linked to a Los Angeles Times story, written by Timothy M. Phelps, in which a favorable opinion of Ms. Lynch was expressed by, not surprisingly, one of Mr. Holder’s former underlings.  I concluded my column with this question: “Is there anyone who believes that Loretta Lynch will be any less calculating [than Mr. Holder] in her stewardship of the Justice Department?"

The L.A. Times seems eager to persuade us that she will be.  How else to explain their latest story on Ms. Lynch, this one also written by Mr. Phelps, that ran under the headline, “Loretta Lynch, new attorney general, works to develop rapport with police.”  And in that story we are told of how she “made a point of meeting quietly with a dozen officers as they were going out to patrol the still-tense city.”  In this meeting we are to draw a distinction between Ms. Lynch and Mr. Holder, who, while addressing college students in Ferguson, Mo., last year during the Michael Brown controversy, spoke of being “profiled” by police in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Holder did not meet with local police officers while visiting Ferguson.

Let us give Ms. Lynch some credit for meeting with Baltimore officers, but there is some question as to how “quietly” the meeting was conducted in the presence of reporters and photographers.  Clearly the meeting was stage-managed for the purpose of drawing the desired distinction between Ms. Lynch and Mr. Holder.  Many cops know how these meetings go.  You show up to work one day and are told that some mucky-muck will be coming through the station, the mayor, the governor, or, as in this case, the attorney general.  You are told to make sure your uniform is clean and your boots are shined, and you are told not to ask any questions or say anything that might reflect poorly on your bosses.  You are tempted to ask (but do not ask) if the attorney general wants to get in on the over-under pool for the number of people who will be killed on the streets of Baltimore this year (the smart money is on the “over”).  You endure the charade for as long as it takes, and after the photographs are taken and the quotes are delivered to the scribes, the mucky-muck and her attending entourage loads up in the black Suburbans and leave, leaving you and your colleagues to your work, which is and will remain unchanged despite the mucky-muck’s promises to make things better.

But in fact things in Baltimore are changing, just not in the way Ms. Lynch and the Police Department’s brass would hope.  Ms. Lynch’s encomium to the beleaguered cops will not alter the fact that crime in Baltimore is out of control with no sign of improvement.  “You have picked a noble profession,” she told the officers.  “Despite how people may want to portray it, you [should] hold on to that every day.”  Among the “many” she referred to are of course Mr. Holder and, lest we forget, the president of the United States, who seems to believe that the greatest danger facing black Americans is that of being mistreated by police officers.  Conditions in Baltimore suggest otherwise.  Since April 12, the day Freddie Gray was arrested, 51 people have been killed in Baltimore, 47 of whom have been black and none of whom died at the hands of a police officer.