Elected and appointed officials in local and state government have abdicated the first responsibility of the offices they hold.

The only people who might better know the streets of urban America than the cops who patrol them are the crooks who haunt them. What can the criminals tell us now about the state of our cities? The crooks know that the streets and alleys are being returned to them and that the police are in retreat. That is unmistakably the case as crime, particularly violent crime, is exploding all over urban America. I was deputy attorney general the last time we suffered a crime wave of national proportions and had to learn the why of it in order to help lead the response that started the trend going the other way. It is mind-boggling to me to see how we are being condemned to repeat the exercise — at the cost of many innocent lives, the vast majority of them being black lives.

The case can be made that this intentional abandonment of the commitment to public safety is genocide because its victims are foreseeably overwhelmingly black and Latino. If this phenomenon were occurring in the white suburbs, we would see a police presence that no one could believe possible. That would be, of course, except in those jurisdictions where the populace has foolishly accepted prosecutors who have bought into “reimagining” the prosecution function as some fairytale undertaking where every crook gets released right back onto the street and accorded second, third, and fourth opportunities to go out and find new victims.

There is no need to study and debate the reasons for the current crime wave, which will grow exponentially as it is left unchecked. The studies have already been done; the experience is on the books. Ridiculously stupid explanations, such as that from Mayor Bill de Blasio and others that COVID is to blame, are an insult to the intelligence of even the least informed. What is even more astounding than the expectation that such drivel would be swallowed by the public is the questions it raises: “Okay, whatever the reason, people of color and their children are dying in alarming numbers — what are you doing about it?” Many state and local officials would have to answer: Nothing. De Blasio — if truthful — would have to say that he has dismantled the only police functions in the City of New York that have worked in the past to combat such violence. Mayor Jenny Durkan in Seattle, a former prosecutor who should know better, literally surrendered part of her city to a mob and likewise owes those victimized by that cowardice more than an apology.