by Josh Kail & Torren Ecker , Tim O’Neal
Philadelphia is in a crime crisis, and District Attorney Larry Krasner has been willfully derelict in doing anything to stop it. Since he will not stand up for the people of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by enforcing the laws to keep people safe, we will.
Thomas Paine once wrote: “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” Krasner has created an environment where breaking the law is easily gotten away with, and where Philadelphia criminals need not fear the tough-on-crime laws already on the books.
The result: a city of lawlessness and an atmosphere of fear left by a vacuum of accountability for public safety enforcement.
The stark numbers coming out of Philadelphia lay bare the failure of DA Krasner to do his job. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, through June 12, 2022, violent crime in Philadelphia has increased seven percent over this time last year. Property crime has risen almost 28 percent. Total crime is up over 23 percent.
When it comes to gun crimes, the figures are just as grim. The number of shooting incidents in Philadelphia has increased over seven percent. The number of shooting victims is up almost five percent over last year.
Unfortunately for Philadelphians, DA Krasner’s conduct has been deplorable. With the city in the middle of a gun-violence scourge, Krasner’s office told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “We do not believe that arresting people and convicting them for illegal gun possession is a viable strategy to reduce shootings.”
In areas where the state has provided Philadelphia stronger enforcement tools to stop crime and violence, Krasner’s office has described those laws as “inequitable and obviously racist.”
When the district attorney, who took an oath to uphold and defend the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, repeatedly refuses to use the tools at his disposal to keep Pennsylvanians safe, then he must be removed from office.
Other city leaders, current and former, are also calling for Krasner to start enforcing the laws.
“Our police officers are doing their jobs,” said Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney in the wake of the tragic recent shooting on South Street. “They are in harm’s way … they are out there doing their jobs every single day and they are taking guns out of criminals’ hands. Those criminals need to go to jail. They need to be detained … unless we do it, they are going to think there is no penalty for their actions and they are going to continue to carry guns.”
Former mayor Michael Nutter also called for law and order. “[Krasner] should commit to locking [perpetrators] up for carrying illegal weapons or shooting people,” Nutter wrote in the Inquirer last year. “If Krasner does not have the fortitude or the guts to carry out those duties, he should resign and turn things over to someone who is not trying to sell Philadelphians on the false choice of having either public safety or police reform. Philadelphians can have – and deserve – both.”
Escalating crime in Philadelphia has become so untenable that city businesses are considering leaving the city.
And that’s one reason the situation in Philadelphia is a statewide problem.
First, Philadelphians are Pennsylvanians who deserve to see our state laws enforced.
Second, Philadelphia is the economic and tourist hub of Pennsylvania. When businesses are thinking about leaving, when tourists fear for their safety, and when Philadelphia is known more for death and violence than as a welcoming destination, the effects are felt by every Pennsylvanian.
We anticipate finalizing Articles of Impeachment against Krasner soon. In the meantime, we have created a publicly accessible website (www.stopkrasner.com), where we encourage citizens from Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania to share their stories about interactions with the district attorney’s office.
Again, since the Philadelphia district attorney will not stand up for the people of the city, since he will not give crime victims a voice and families a resolution, and since he refuses to do the job to which he has been elected, we are stepping in.
We will give the people of Philadelphia the voice they are looking for. We will stand up for the rule of law. We will do everything we can to ensure that laws that keep people safe are respected and enforced.
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Rep. Josh Kail represents portions of Beaver and Washington counties in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was first elected in 2018. Rep. Torren Ecker represents portions of Adams and Cumberland counties in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was first elected in 2018. Rep. Tim O’Neal represents portions of Washington County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was first elected in 2018.
Photo “Larry Krasner” by Larry Krasner for DA.