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PODCAST: New York City Eliminated Its Anti-Crime Unit. Violent Crime Has Surged.

New York City has seen a 53.5% increase in shootings and a 27% increase in killings this year, according to GianCarlo Canaparo, a legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

The New York City Police Department disbanded its plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit amid calls to defund the police in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The increased violence might be a result in part of the city’s decision to disband the unit.

Canaparo joins the show to explain the factors contributing to New York City’s crime spike and what should be done to curb the violence.

We also cover these stories:


Two regimes are fighting an ideological war in America today. But what side are you on? And how can you sharpen up on how to defend your position? Learn more now >>


  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced a bill to protect statues and monuments from protesters.
  • There is evidence that Russia is trying to hack research about a COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has put his foot down on the mandating of face masks by cities in the state.

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Virginia Allen: I am joined by GianCarlo Canaparo, Heritage Foundation legal fellow. GianCarlo, thanks so much for being here.

GianCarlo Canaparo: Thanks for having me, Virginia.

Allen: Well, I wish that we were here to talk about happier news today, but we are discussing, really, the frighteningly high spike in violent crime in New York City. Last weekend was a really tragic weekend in New York City. Could you begin by just telling us a little bit about what happened last weekend?

Canaparo: Sure. I’ll start by telling you the story of Davell Gardner. Davell was 1 year old. He was with family and friends at a neighborhood barbecue when unknown assailants drove up, hopped out of their car, and opened fire on the barbecue. They hit three men, wounding them. Thankfully, all of them seem to be fine, but Davell died of his wounds.

The same day, two other children, ages 12 and 15, were shot in Brooklyn and Harlem, and they were among a total of 64 people shot in New York, just this last weekend.

Allen: Wow. And sadly, GianCarlo, this is a trend that we’re seeing right now in New York City. So far this year, New York has seen a 53.5% increase in shootings and a 27% increase in murders. You just wrote a sobering, but really fantastic, piece for The Daily Signal about this crime surge. Could you just give us the big picture of what is going on in New York City right now, as it relates to this rise in violent crime?

Canaparo: Yeah, sure. So far, as of the last time that the NYPD put out stats, which was on the fifth of this month, we’ve seen 528 shootings in New York. Like you said, these numbers are up big time; 50% shooting, 63% shooting victims, almost 30% increase in murders just this year.

This comes following a lot of anti-police protests and riots, as well as New York City’s decision to disband the police force’s anti-crime unit. And New York is not alone in this. We are seeing this trend in a lot of big cities. Chicago is on track to have its most violent year since the mid-’90s. We’ve seen, in that city, 336 murders as of July 2, so this is a really distressing trend of violence throughout America’s big cities.

Allen: You mentioned that the NYPD, they dismantled their anti-crime unit. What did this unit actually do, and what is not happening in New York City right now because of it being disbanded?

Canaparo: Sure. The anti-crime unit was undercover, plainclothes cops assigned to each precinct and city housing. They went after illegal guns, local crime sprees, and focused on burglaries. Incidentally, we’ve seen that burglaries are up 45% in New York this year so far.

The reason that they were disbanded, I think, is because they were involved in more police shootings than other departments, by the nature of what they did, focusing on violent crimes and guns. But what you’ve seen, then, is that the New York Police Department is now deprived of, basically, its first responders to the most violent types of crimes.

Allen: Yeah, I mean, it makes sense that if these are the police officers, like you say, that are in plain clothes and living in the community, probably 99% of the time they’re the first ones that are able to be on those crime scenes and respond.

Canaparo: Right, exactly right. They’re the officers who are going to be there before people know that the police are there or coming, and so they’re going to be in a lot hotter situations than the average officer who comes in sirens blazing after an incident has commenced or finished.

Allen: OK, wow. Right now, there’s a lot of finger pointing going on in the Big Apple, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying it’s the courts and the courts saying no, it’s de Blasio and the NYPD, and everyone is blaming someone else. Who should actually be held accountable and responsible for this massive crime spike?

Canaparo: Boy, there’s really no shortage of people to blame. We saw earlier this year that New York undertook some criminal justice reforms, including, I think, the consensus in now is that its bail reform was somewhat disastrous. It released a lot of felons for COVID-19 to get them out of prisons because those were vulnerable populations.

We see that there are elements to these Black Lives Matter protests, which are more than just a cry for justice. There is a movement, a Marxist, anti-police, anti-establishment movement behind this motto, which has been encouraging violence and a culture of lawlessness.

We’ve seen that the New York Police Department has, in some cases, not engaged, not put its foot down, which means that people slowly, or rather quickly, actually, learn that there are not consequences to criminal action. So you’ve got this culture of lawlessness and violence that is spinning out of control in New York.

To see this firsthand, you can go online, and, I mean, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of videos, really disturbing videos of just violent lawlessness going on. The sort of thing that a healthy society does not glorify.

Allen: To what extent do you think COVID-19 should be factored into this, to where you have a lot of people out of work, or maybe have less work, and they’re bored or they’re restless? Are they maybe now more prone to get involved in criminal activity?

Canaparo: Yeah, it’s hard for me to say to what extent COVID-19 is affecting this. But … it makes sense intuitively, to me at least, that with the release of criminals from jails for COVID-19 purposes and the fact that people are not otherwise engaged productively with jobs or what have you, it makes sense to me, these are factors that come together and seem to be causing this problem.

Allen: Yeah. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes parts of the Bronx and Queens, she made a very interesting comment that the spike in crime was due to poverty and people not being able to feed their families, so they’re stealing bread.

What does this comment reveal about just how out of touch Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and others, radical leaders on the left, are … with reality?

Canaparo: Sure. Well, first, let me walk through how this conversation started, because there’s a timeline here that affects how people are talking about this.

She gets on a video and she says, “Well, maybe the rising crime has to do with,” like you said, “people feeling the need to shoplift some bread or go hungry,” was her quote.

That statement taken at face value is belied by the evidence. Right? This is not shoplifting. We’ve seen a 53% rise in shootings. We’ve seen murders on the rise. Burglary is on the rise, and to be clear, an increase in people shoplifting for bread would not lead to a rise in burglary stats because New York charges shoplifting as larceny.

Now, larceny stats are actually down in New York. Petite larceny, meaning anything less than $1,000, is down 7.5%. Grand larceny for bigger thefts [is] down 20%. So shoplifting is not what’s leading to this rise in violent crimes.

When she was presented with these facts and got a lot of pushback, she did what she and a lot of politicians often do, which is to retreat from the specific claim into a generality.

She said, “Republicans are just all upset that I’m connecting the dots between crime and poverty,” is what she said. Well, that’s gaslighting, pure and simple. Right? Because, if this was just about poverty, we would expect to see that month over month, recently, these crime stats would be going down because as economies have slowly reopened, we’ve seen the unemployment levels drop quite dramatically, in fact.

By the end of July, unemployment dropped about 5%. It’s still very high. It’s still too high, hovering around 11%, but down significantly.

If her explanation [was correct], crime, poverty are related was the explanation here, we’d expect to see month over month a drop. But, in fact, what we’ve seen is month over month, 165% more shootings, 204% more shooting victims, and 21% more murders, month over month. That causality is backwards.

Even if she’s allowed to retreat away from her specific claim that this is shoplifting, her general claim that this is just the relationship between crime and poverty doesn’t explain what’s going on.

Allen: Wow. Well, New York has showed us that defunding parts of your police department, it doesn’t work. It only leads to more chaos, more crime. But it’s obvious, after the death of George Floyd at the hand of police officer Derek Chauvin that reforms do need to take place and … need to happen.

How should cities and communities across America respond to the death of George Floyd so that another man or woman is not wrongfully killed at the hands of a police officer?

Canaparo: What we need to see from reformists is a commitment to reform based on what we actually know, and not just what we think or feel we know about how police behave.

We need targeted reforms that prevent or punish or eliminate bad actors from within the police forces. But to paint with a broad brush and to simply disband, defund, or eliminate police forces will only encourage bad actors in the community to do what they’re going to do with impunity.

Allen: GianCarlo, to what extent is this a state and local level issue versus something that Congress should take action on?

Canaparo: Oh, it’s almost exclusively a state and local issue because the vast, vast majority of police-citizen interactions are at the state and local level. Federal police forces are not out there on the street dealing with people on a day-to-day basis.

Every community is going to have different needs. Communities that are quieter, communities that have a lot more police presence, they’re going to have different needs and considerations, and how each community interacts with its police force is a deeply local decision.

Allen: Yeah, interesting. New York had terrible crime in the 1970s and Mayor Rudy Giuliani is largely credited with cleaning up crime in the ’90s. Although, his methods have been attacked by some. What is New York City’s history of crime?

Canaparo: In a city like New York, it’s really easy for somebody to get lost in the crowd. That dynamic, that mentality can lend itself well to, in some people, the conception that, “Well, I can commit crime because I won’t get caught.”

What big cities like New York and Chicago need is a police presence that is there, that’s visible, that’s engaged and involved with the community. To cultivate not only a sense that police are there for our protection for the vast majority of people who are good and law-abiding citizens, but also to cultivate amongst people who are not that they are not going to get away with criminal behavior.

Allen: If you could sit down with some of New York City’s leaders today and say, “Hey guys, this is really what we need to implement first. Today, right now, this is what needs to change in order to strengthen that police force and bring this crime surge down,” what would you say to them?

Canaparo: A couple of things. No. 1, again, I would just reiterate that to tackle these issues, we need to be going at it from a data-driven approach—what do we actually know—and not listen to social activists who are espousing of a philosophy that is not necessarily tied to the facts. …

No. 2, there are going to be bad actors within the police forces, like there are bad actors everywhere. We need a system where they can be found out and punished.

Now, one of the problems that police forces face is, as with teachers and other unions, a union can create a lot of stickiness for bad actors in the police force, that they can’t be fired or they can’t be removed from the beat. Those sort of concerns need to be whittled down.

On the other side of the extreme, though, you can’t just get rid of your police forces in an overcorrection because there are always going to be bad actors in the community as well.

You’ve got to find that balance. You need the police engaged with the community, building trust with the community, present in the community. But you can’t divorce from that relationship the fact that police are necessary, most police are good, hardworking people who are just trying to do their jobs.

Allen: We encourage all of our listeners to follow GianCarlo’s work and follow him on Twitter, @gcanaparo. GianCarlo, thank you so much for your time today, just really appreciate your insight on this really important subject.

Canaparo: My pleasure. Thanks, Virginia.

COLUMN BY

Virginia Allen

Virginia Allen is a news producer for The Daily Signal. She is the co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Send an email to Virginia. Twitter: @Virginia_Allen5.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Russians and Eastern Europeans Steal Credit Card Information, Rip-off Washington State Residents

Looks like they just flew in and set up a credit card skimming fraud scheme.

credit card skimming
Did you know you could take a course (if you speak Russian) in how to steal credit card data!  

Check out this story from the Tri-City Herald, a paper serving Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, Washington.  And, check out this fantastic reporting by Kristin Kraemer!  This is reporting as it should be!

No typical politically-correct reporting identifying the perps as “man,” or Washington “man” here.

No ‘secret decoder ring’ needed!

Straight up in the headline—these are foreign crooks!

Two are Russians, the other two are from Romania and Moldova.

From the Tri-City Herald (hat tip: Robin):

These foreigners ran a credit card skimming ring in the Tri-Cities, say police

Dozens of Tri-Citians were the victim of a highly sophisticated credit card scam that ended with the arrests of four Eastern Europeans.

Police say the alleged thieves weren’t caught until they had already siphoned $17,000 from accounts just after Christmas.

And there may be dozens more unknowing victims throughout Eastern Washington since police confiscated at least 268 gift cards, each one loaded with a separate account number, name and PIN number.

While the suspects were nabbed at Numerica Credit Union in Richland, court documents show they were operating out of hotels in Yakima County and driving rental cars from Seattle and Southern California.

[….]

Emil Kabirov, 21, Denis Legun, 24, Ana Onici, 22, and George Vasile, 35, appeared Friday in Benton County Superior Court.

Judge Joe Burrowes raised Kabirov’s bail to $500,000 — an amount typically reserved for defendants in murder, violent assault and certain child sex cases.

Bail is set at $100,000 each for Legun and Vasile with the stipulation that they surrender their passports before posting bond. If they don’t hand them over but want to be released, the bail amount increases to $500,000 on each.

[….]

The suspects may have used a skimming device attached to an ATM, gas pump or a card reader in a store to record legitimate transactions.

The stolen information, or metadata, is then downloaded from the device, providing scammers with account numbers and access PINs.

Often, that information is used to make counterfeit cards with blank gift cards so the thieves can use them like credit or debit cards at various ATMs to unlawfully withdraw money from those accounts.

Much more here.

Kabirov and Legun are identified as Russians, Vasile is Romanian, and Onica is from Moldova and all are ordered to appear in court in February.  A fifth suspect got away.

Kudos to Ms. Kraemer!

So why can’t we have reporting like this more often—reporting that doesn’t shy away from telling the public when the crooks are immigrants of some sort!

However, I still have one question:  which legal immigration program did this bunch use to get in to the US, or did they arrive illegally somehow?  How can we ever reform immigration if we don’t know where the loopholes are that crooks like these creeps take advantage of?

EDITORS NOTE: This column by Frauds, Crooks and Criminals with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Two Paddles Axe and Leatherwork on Unsplash.

Murder, Robbery and the Obamaphone Connection

On the evening of June 30, 2015, my longtime friend Chuck de Caro, a Pentagon consultant, and his wife, Lynne Russell, former anchorwoman for CNN Headline News, checked into a Motel 6 at 6015 Iliff Road, NW, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Chuck, Lynne, and their 12-year- old semi-incontinent Weimerauner, Oliver, were traveling on a combination business and first anniversary road trip from Washington, D.C. to California.  They stopped at the well-lighted and apparently secure motel because of its pet-friendly policy and easy access to the hotel dog park.

After checking into their room and unloading their bags, Chuck prepared to take a shower while Lynne returned to their car for s supply of dog food.  However, as Lynne was inserting her key card into the electronic door lock to reenter their room, she was attacked from behind by a large black male, pushed into the room, and thrown onto the bed.

At that instant Chuck emerged from the shower, naked and soaking wet, only to find Lynne and a black male, Tomorio Walton, facing each other.  Walton, a parole violator from Memphis with a long list of felonies to his credit… including 28 guilty pleas in the 7½ years between June 5, 2007 and December 29, 2014… held a shiny, large-frame semi-automatic pistol in his hand and was demanding their money and their valuables.

Both Chuck and Lynne have concealed-carry permits and their handguns were laying side-by-side on a night table next to the bed (Lynne also has two martial arts black belts and is a former deputy sheriff).  As Chuck attempted to calm the obviously drug-agitated intruder, Lynne said, “Let me see what I can get you,” and moved to the bedside table to retrieve her purse.  However, as she did so, she discreetly placed one of the two handguns inside the purse, handed it to Chuck, and said, “Is there anything in here that you might give him?”

Chuck reached inside the purse, grasped the handgun, and waited for the right moment.  Then, as Walton seized a computer bag, he began firing at close range.  Chuck’s military training kicked in and, although wounded three times, he quickly closed the distance from ten to six feet before emptying his seven-round magazine into Walton, striking him seven times as he staggered toward the door.  Seconds later the intruder fell, mortally wounded, in the motel parking lot.

When Albuquerque police later examined surveillance tapes, they saw Walton exit the left rear door of a black 2015 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan. The Chevy is then seen driving slowly through the Motel 6 parking lot with what appeared to be a male driver and a female passenger in the front seat, and a third individual in the right rear seat.  Surveillance tapes then show Walton proceeding along the walkway in front of the rooms, speaking on a cell phone, while another individual walked nearby, also speaking on a cell phone.  Apparently no one on the Motel 6 staff, not even the motel’s armed security guard, was watching the video monitors.

Albuquerque police were later contacted by a “source” who asked to remain anonymous.  The source advised them that the driver of the black 2015 Chevy Malibu was a black male named Skyy Barrs and that the automobile used in the holdup attempt was registered to his girlfriend, Bonica Amarillo.  When the occupants of the Chevy Malibu heard gunfire they drove again through the motel parking lot, and when they saw Walton lying on the pavement, covered with blood, Barrs stopped to examine him.  Surveillance tapes show that Barrs held Walton in his arms briefly, and when he concluded that his accomplice was dead he dropped him onto the pavement, reentered the automobile, and drove away.

When police obtained a search warrant for Walton’s cell phone they found an individual named “Ski” on the contact list. They also found that calls were made between Barrs and Walton at 9:06 PM, 9:07 PM, and 9:08 PM, and a missed call from Barrs to Walton at 11:35 PM, approximately the instant that Walton attacked Lynne Russell and forced her into her room.  Police also found a text message from Barrs to Walton, dated Saturday, June 27.  The message read, cryptically, “We about to Hite (sic) some licks,” street slang for “we are going to commit a robbery.”

According to the arrest warrant, the “source” told Albuquerque police that Walton worked as a criminal “slave” for Skyy Barrs, an arrangement in which Barrs provided the planning, the transportation, and the weaponry necessary to commit a crime.  As such, Barrs is now behind bars, charged with Felony Murder, Kidnapping (two counts), Armed Robbery (two counts), Aggravated Battery w/ Great Bodily Harm, Assault with intent to commit a Violent Felony, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Aggravated Burglary, and six counts of Conspiracy.  Under the law, all those who participated in the crime, including Barrs’ girlfriend, Bonica Amarillo, and the unnamed rear seat occupant, will face the same charges when taken into custody.

What causes me to dwell on the exchange of cell phone calls between Walton and Barrs is the fact that the cell phones used in the commission of the robbery and attempted murder were “Obamaphones,” free cell phones provided with few questions to the “poor” by the Obama administration.  

So the question arises, if those who provide material support in the commission of a crime, such as transportation and weaponry, are equally as guilty as the person who actually commits the crime, how far does that liability extend?

Under criminal law, an individual is complicit in a crime only if he or she is aware of impending criminal activity and has the ability to either prevent it or report it, but fails to do so.  In such an event, the individual effectively allows criminals activity to occur despite being able to prevent it, either directly or indirectly by contacting the authorities.

The offender then becomes a de facto accessory to the crime rather than an innocent bystander.

So, while Barrs, his girlfriend, and an unnamed third party were all aware of Walton’s intended crime and had the ability to either prevent it or report it, the fact that Barack Obama indirectly participated in the commission of the crime by providing the cell phones used in the commission of a crime does not make him “complicit” because he had no personal knowledge of the crime.

A visit to the www.obamaphone.com website tells us that, “Welfare recipients, and others, can receive a free cell phone, but the program is not funded by the government or taxpayer money… and it’s hardly new.”  The website explains that the “Obamaphone” program is paid for by the telephone service providers.  What they fail to mention is that each and every one of us who has a land line or a cell phone account finds a charge on our monthly statements that covers the cost of the Obamaphone program.  Obama administration “social engineers” fail to understand that government-imposed fees that are ultimately passed on to consumers are, in effect, indirect taxes.

The Obama administration and their supporters are so sensitive to criticism of the Obamaphone program that they have, as always, attempted to lay the blame elsewhere. The Obamaphone website goes into great detail, explaining that the program, which has increased from $800 million in 2009 to $2.2 billion in 2012, did not begin with Barack Obama.  Although Obama is given credit for it, the website explains that the George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan administrations played significant roles in launching the program, as did the FDR and Woodrow Wilson administrations.

Unaccustomed as the Obama administration is to taking responsibility for any of their actions, the Obamaphone website tells us that the Safelink Wireless program offered the first free government cell phones in Tennessee in 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, three months before Obama was inaugurated.  They lay blame on the Clinton administration because it was during the 1990s that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized a subsidy for landline telephones as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

They lay blame on the Reagan administration because it was during the 1980s when the FCC created the original Lifeline Assistance program.  And they lay blame on the Roosevelt administration because it was in 1934, during FDR’s first term, that Congress created the FCC, promising “to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.

And, believe it or not, there are those who insist that the Obamaphone program began in the early part of the 20th century, during the Woodrow Wilson administration, when the first telephone companies were founded and the phone service offered by a company in one town was often incompatible with the phone service offered by another company in another town.  It was then that the Wilson administration gave AT&T a monopoly over phone service, allowing them to set nationwide technology standards and to determine the nation’s future telephone system.

Inasmuch as cell phones did not come into widespread use until very early in the 21st century, Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt might have acted differently had they known what was coming.  But Barack Obama sets the rules of the blame game.  If his administration believes that it is even remotely reasonable and logical to think that the Wilson administration bears some responsibility for the existence of the Obamaphone program, then it is equally reasonable and logical to assume that the Obama administration bears some responsibility for the horror that happened to Chuck de Caro and Lynne Russell in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

If they are truly serious about what is good for the poor, why not expand the scope of this $2.2 billion government give-away program by mandating a warning to all who sign for and receive a free cell phone.  The warning: “Any person who utilizes this device in the commission of a crime is guilty of a federal offense and is subject to both fine and imprisonment.”

Watch the IRS Rob and Extort a Convenience Store Owner

The Institute for Justice reports on the strange, tragic case of Ken Quran:

Khalid “Ken” Quran moved to America in 1997, leaving behind a life as a fireman in a town ten miles north of Jerusalem, near Ramallah. Ken now lives in Greenville, N.C., with his wife, Dina, and their four kids.

Shortly after moving to this country, Ken purchased a small convenience store in Greenville, located on a dusty patch of land near the airport. Ken worked days and nights for years, often opening and closing the store, in order to build his business. He made a living selling goods at razor-thin margins and hardly ever taking a vacation.

Then, in June 2014, the government seized his entire bank account — more than $150,000. This was money that Ken worked for years to earn, and that he was counting on for his retirement. Ken had no prior warning before the government seized the account. The government told him they were taking the money because he withdrew cash from the bank in amounts under $10,000.

But the truly shocking thing is what happened next. A group of government agents — both from the IRS and local police — came to Ken’s store with an agreement already written up, under which Ken would agree to forever forfeit the money to the federal government.

The agents searched his store with dogs, barred the entrance to keep out customers, and then demanded that he sign the paper. Ken initially refused, explaining that he did not read English well and did not want to sign an agreement he could not understand.

Then, under compulsion — after one of the local police yelled and demanded that he sign, and after one of the IRS agents made clear that, otherwise, their next stop would be to talk to Ken’s wife to pressure her — Ken agreed to sign.

Sign the petition to get Ken’s money backLearn more about Ken and others like him who have had their legal and hard-earned money taken away for no good reason — and what the Institute for Justice is doing to help them fight back.

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