How did the Department of Justice make over 2,000 arrests in less than two months of Operation Legend? In part by returning to the kind of effective law enforcement that cities have abandoned in 2020. US Attorney Justin Herdman told Fox & Friends that the efforts in nine cities have found almost 150 murder suspects since the late-July effort began, which is one reason why local police departments have welcomed federal help, Herdman claimed. The boost in resources at all levels allows officers to use broken-windows policing to find criminals who have been hiding in plain sight all along:
The anti-crime Operation Legend is “fully underway across the country” and has led to more than 2,000 arrests since its launch in early July, said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin Herdman.
As of the end of August, he told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, more than 470 people have been charged with federal crimes in major metropolitan cities, including nearly 150 people wanted for murder.
“We are not just arresting people for low-level warrants here,” Herdman said. “We’re talking about very violent fugitives, very violent criminals and we’re getting them off the streets of these nine cities across the country.”
Chicago’s ABC affiliate noted yesterday that the feds are taking advantage of every opening to make arrests. That includes parking violations, in which a violent criminal with a 40-year track record now faces federal prosecutors, where much steeper sentencing applies. Nor is that the only felon in possession of firearms that has been swept up in the dragnet by using broken-windows policing:
There was some initial confusion on the numbers for each city, which might have prompted today’s DoJ’s press release on the progress for Operation Legend. Rather than break the arrests down by city, the DoJ just notes that the program has made “more than 2000 arrests,” and then notes the numbers of people charged in each city with federal crimes thus far. In Chicago, 72 people have been charged with firearms-related federal offenses in just six weeks, a remarkable effort and by far the highest in any city in Operation Legend. In Kansas City, where the program began after the killing of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, sixty people have been charged with firearms-related offenses, although the overall number of federal prosecutions is close to that of Chicago’s (99 and 103, respectively).
While the DoJ should get a large amount of credit for their work in getting violent criminals off the street, this points out the failure of leadership in these cities to support effective policing. For the past several months, political leadership has either ordered police to stop enforcing minor offenses or made it known that they would not support that level of enforcement. Criminals have seen this — correctly, as it turns out — as a signal of impunity. As a result, all crime has gotten out of control, including violent crime, and police have been overwhelmed by it, as well as by the riots in some cities.
The lesson here is that appeasement is a losing strategy. Effective law enforcement means enforcing all the laws with professional and evenhanded techniques, which sends the signal that impunity will be quickly spotted and smothered. The fact that it took the feds to find these criminals shows that the local jurisdictions have failed in their primary responsibility to protect their citizens and sustain public order. Hopefully, those citizens will take a lesson from that the next time those local offices come up in elections.