White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed a question from Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday as to some of the causes of the skyrocketing crime in major US cities.
"Do you think it's possible that big cities are dealing with these smash-and-grab robberies right now, and increase in criminal activities, because some prosecutors are too soft on crime?" Doocy asked.
"I would say we have seen, I'm not going to attribute the reasoning from here," Psaki said. "What I will tell you is we have seen an increase in crime over the course of the pandemic. There are a range of reasons for that. And what our focus is on is what we can do to address it."
Earlier this month, Psaki attributed the uptick in crime to the pandemic, saying that COVID was a "root cause" of lawlessness and organized retail theft across the country. Again during that briefing, it was Doocy who brought the question.
"I think many people have conveyed that and one of the root causes of crime in communities is guns and gun violence. And we've seen that statistically around the country," Psaki said on December 2.
She further noted that the White House was working "with a range of communities across the country on strike forces," and that "the president absolutely believes that community police forces can have an important instrumental effect in helping keep communities safe." Since then, her answer has stayed substantially the same.
"The president has proposed additional funding," Psaki said on Monday, "in the budget to make sure local police departments and cops have the funding they need. We have also worked directly with police departments in areas where they are seeing the highest impact of the crime, the retail theft, which that's what we have great concern about. That's what our focus is on currently is action and doing we continue to lend out there to the communities that need it the most."
Doocy asked a follow-up about the crime increases, saying "We’ve seen an arsonist burn down a half a million dollar Christmas tree in New York City, back out on the streets. Does the president think that’s good governing?"
Psaki dodged the question, directing the reporter to the Department of Justice of local officers.
The trend of so-called smash-and-grab robberies, where an organized group of individuals goes to a shop, rushes in, smashes cases and windows and steals property before rushing out and driving off, has been trending up. These kinds of robberies have been seen in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and other locations.
A retired Oakland police officer was killed during a smash-and-grab attack, while he was on duty protecting a news crew that was reporting on the phenomenon. Governor Gavin Newsom of California condemned the practice. Walgreens closed five stores in San Francisco because of this, and a group of US retail companies demanded that lawmakers act to prevent this kind of brazen theft.
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