Tennessee families are worried. Heightened crime rates have gone from an anomaly in liberal cities to a fixture in nearly every town in America. Last week, I spoke with Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association members who shared that as crime rates rise so do concerns for safety.
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Over the past year, America saw unprecedented levels of violent crime. The country’s 40 most populous cities experienced increased homicide rates, and ten cities reached their highest levels on record. Shoplifting surged, gang violence escalated, and drug overdose deaths grew by 30%.
The Volunteer State was not immune to this increase in crime rates. In Tennessee, the number of homicides in Memphis soared to a record high, and 2021 was the deadliest year on record for drug overdoses in Nashville.
Although we are just now seeing these record-breaking numbers, signs of a looming crime spike emerged when high-profile Democrats called to “defund the police” in May of 2020. When their campaign promises turned into policy proposals, those warnings became reality. Democratic leaders have been quick to condemn the violence, even as their party doubles down on anti-cop rhetoric.
Behind their wall of armed security, President Biden and progressive Democrats insist on a “rules for thee but not for me” approach. President Biden is considering Executive Orders to limit access to funding and lifesaving resources for law enforcement. Following the senseless murder of NYC Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, Biden leveraged their deaths to prop up leftist gun control talking points. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, progressives including “Squad” member Cori Bush hired thousands of dollars’ worth of private protection but refused to back down on the “defund the police” narrative.
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The law enforcement community often shares with me their frustration with the left’s apathy towards crime. National Police Association spokesperson retired Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith explained that the Democrats’ narrative “has created a perfect storm of violence and fear. It has empowered criminals at the expense of public safety.”
Crime is destroying our communities, and Democrats are enabling the surge with their radical agenda. Families in the Volunteer State rightfully echo the frustration of law enforcement officers. That’s why on Capitol Hill I am blocking policies that limit law enforcement resources and spearheading efforts to support the police in Tennessee.
As the crime surge rages on, Tennessee families are fearful of what is to come. They are scared for their homes, their businesses, and their children’s future. Rather than doubling down on talking points, it is time for the Democrats to act. No amount of empathy will stop the crime spike, and policies seeding distrust in law enforcement will only make our problems worse. Our communities will not be safe until Democrats abandon their “defund the police” slogans and get to work.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) serves the people of Tennessee. You can follow her on Twitter: @MarshaBlackburn
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