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A New ‘Broken Windows’ Discovery? Violence Linked to COVID Relief Fraud

Posted on | September 16, 2023 | Comments Off on A New ‘Broken Windows’ Discovery? Violence Linked to COVID Relief Fraud

A very interesting article from WBAL-TV:

Maryland’s U.S. attorney found a big connection between violent crime and COVID-19 pandemic fraud.
Maryland U.S. Attorney Erek Barron told the 11 News I-Team that his office found that 60% of violent criminals are also committing some type of COVID-19 fraud, and because of that, his office investigates every single violent crime target to see whether they’ve committed pandemic fraud.
Barron told the I-Team that the 20% reduction in homicides and the 10% reduction in nonfatal shootings in Baltimore City can both be explained by his office prosecuting COVID-19 fraud. Barron said that if his office can’t lock up violent offenders for those crimes, there’s a good chance his office can prosecute them for pandemic fraud.
Barron said the bottom line is to get violent criminals off the streets by any legal means necessary.
“They should know it’s a top priority for our office, and a big enough priority that we’ve also leveraged it as part of our violent crime strategy here in Baltimore City,” Barron told the I-Team. “And, you know what? Those who are also doing that and committing violent offenses in our communities, they should be held accountable doubly.”
When asked abouty the I-Team’s ongoing reporting about the now 280 Maryland residents who have contacted 11 News to report their Medicare cards have been charged for COVID-19 tests they never ordered, Barron said he couldn’t discuss any potential investigations.
However, he was able to be more candid about the work his office does investigating vehicle thefts, telling the I-Team that his office has found two big hot spots for car thefts in Maryland are in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.
“Any case that meets the federal statute, we will prosecute. But even outside of that, we’ve been involved in helping to put together a joint local, state, federal task forces. So, there’s one here in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and there’s also a task force working in Prince George’s County and the D.C. border,” Barron said.
“Our violent crime investigations, we found that upwards of 60% of those have at least a preliminary indication of also being involved in some form of pandemic fraud,” Barron said.
By prosecuting those violent criminals for pandemic fraud, Barron said it’s “getting violent criminals off our streets by any legal means necessary,” and he said those efforts have contributed to a 20% drop in Baltimore homicides and a 10% drop in nonfatal shootings compared to 2022.
“It’s become an automatic part of our violent crime strategy,” Barron said.

This illustrates something about the “broken windows” theory of crime prevention pioneered by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson: Criminals are not specialists. That is to say, the drug dealer is often also the rapist, and the car thief is also often the armed robber. Habitual criminals have a general disposition toward lawlessness and antisocial behavior. This insight was proven conclusively in New York City when Bill Bratton launched a crackdown on subway “fare beaters,” miscreants who would avoid paying fares by jumping over turnstiles at subway stations. Once the transit cops started arresting the people engaged in this misdemeanor crime, they were shocked to discover that dozens of the turnstile jumpers were carrying illegal weapons or had outstanding felony warrants for serious crimes including aggravated assault. Simply by enforcing laws against “minor” crimes, you end up arresting lots of dangerous felons, and why? Because people who don’t obey laws against robbery and murder also don’t obey laws against less serious offenses.

Sometimes when a criminal gets shot by cops, and the media does one of those “family demands answers” stories, the situation will be framed as a black man getting killed by police because of a “routine traffic stop.” And then the police bodycam video is released, and we discover not only that the suspect tried to run over a cop, but also that they had the proverbial criminal record “as long as your arm,” they were a felon in possession of a firearm, with outstanding warrants, etc. In other words, the “routine traffic stop” — pulled over for expired tags or failure to signal a turn, whatever — was simply the occasion by which the criminal came in contact with police. The media, amplifying the “family demands answers” message, are obscuring the basic truth involved, i.e., criminals don’t obey traffic laws. This is directly related to what the Maryland U.S. Attorney has discovered about the perpetrators of COVID relief fraud. These swindlers are also implicated in many of the violent crimes that have plagued Baltimore, so when you put them in prison on fraud charges, there are fewer shootings in the city. The determination to “get violent criminals off the streets by any legal means necessary” reflects what I’ve been saying for years: Crime is a people problem. Identify the criminals and lock them up, and you solve the problem. It doesn’t matter what charges send them to prison. What matters is getting them off the streets.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!



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