- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Police in Philadelphia, reacting to the coronavirus outbreak, court closures and the call for social distancing, have entered a sort of No Incarceration Zone and announced that criminals who would normally be jailed, will instead be set free. Oh, they’ll be arrested and served a paper saying they’ll have to appear in court at a later date — but in the immediate, they’ll still be set free.

Thank goodness for the Second Amendment, yes?

“This [new policy] means that a person, who would ordinarily be arrested and prosecuted at a detective division, will now be temporarily detained for the purpose of confirming identity, as well as completion of required paperwork,” Philadelphia police put out in a statement reported by the Philly Voice. “At a later date, that person will be arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant.”

In the meantime, that person will be free to walk the streets. Free to commit more crimes, even.

Police are downplaying that bit of reality, however. And honestly, who can blame them? It’s not exactly their fault.

Still, a freed criminal is a freed criminal — is a freed criminal free to commit more crimes.

“To be clear,” the police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, wrote in a Twitter post, “the Philadelphia Police Department is not turning a blind eye to crime. Persons who commit certain non-violent offenses will be arrested … released and processed. This is similar to the ‘summons process’ that is utilized in many other counties.”

Except that with a summons — police aren’t catching a criminal in the heat of the criminal moment, or responding to a 911 call for assistance with a criminal during the commission of a crime.

“People charged with non-violent offense generally should not be added to the jail population at this time,” Philly’s district attorney, Larry Krasner, said. “Doing so would only increase risk of infection to police officers, guards, other detainees and workers.”

Sounds a recipe for criminal disaster — or criminals’ heaven, depending on perspective. What’s sadly worse is that police have put out their new policy in a widely reported public statement that brings the unintended consequences of serving as a sort of call-to-criminal-arms for all the would-be thieves of the city.


So which crimes are being bumped from jail?

The Philly Voice said an internal memo from Outlaw specified those suspects accused of drug crimes, thefts and burglaries, prostitution, vandalism and car theft, as well as others that were economic, more than violent, in nature would be given the catch-and-release treatment.

That means, for Philly’s law-abiding, grab your weapons and protect your homes. Protect your cars. Protect your possessions.

‘Cause the police and court systems aren’t really going to be doing it.

Thank goodness for the Second Amendment.

Where police cannot or will not go, lawfully armed citizens can certainly take their stands.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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