Letter to the Editor: Buss is right on crime — we need to be tougher

Reader Gene Clegg comments on how brazen criminals are these days.

I tend not to agree with Mr. Buss concerning the content of his letters, as we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. However, his most recent letter (“Democrats to blame for King County’s crime rate,” published Dec. 27) struck a nerve.

The statement that crime is on the rise is obvious. In fact, close friends have made me aware of many crimes that are very serious, but not being reported in the news. These are crimes occurring in the affluent parts of King County such as robberies of jewelry stores, coin shops, and those marketing high end merchandise, not just food stores and pharmacies.

These are not crimes committed by individuals seeking food for their family or a need for winter clothes. These are individuals seeking monetary rewards by reselling the stolen merchandise through after market operators. This crime is sometimes violent, but mostly it is going unpunished as those involved are not stopped at the door or apprehended.

Like Mr. Buss, I believe our lax policing and poor court actions are to blame. I tend to credit the malaise of lax attitudes toward today’s crime to slogans such as “Defund the Police”. Instead, we now need even more police as our economy begins to slide into a hard landing. Instead of adding more help for the poor and those needing family interventions of violence in the home, we are building a few houses for the homeless. This is not the solution. We need to actually punish criminal behavior and raise wages to a level where people can afford to live and not feel their poverty entitles them to steal from the rest of us.

The COVID period added to this problem by creating a prison dilemma. We found we could not lock up anyone except the most dangerous or risk every detainee coming down with the virus. There was not enough room. Instead, they were given a court date and told to return. Yah, right!

I asked our son, who resides in Dallas, Texas, if he sees a similar problem. He said no. There are no incidents where people just walk into a department store, dump the high-end clothing in a cart and push it out the door, or people pushing a grocery cart out the door full of booze. When I asked him why, as it certainly is happening in California, Oregon and Washington, he didn’t know. He thought it might be the cowboy attitude that you will get caught by the store clerks and the general public. He believed that the laws in Texas were not so lenient.

I am not advocating vigilantism; however, we certainly need to return to a harsher attitude toward criminal behavior, closer to what I grew up with. We had two doors in our home, neither of which had a lock. Those days, we as children would disappear all day and only return for supper when the sun went down are long gone. We never feared for our well-being, nor did our parents. We have lost much since then.

Gene Clegg