House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there’s a growing “attitude of lawlessness” behind the rising crime rates that have frustrated local officials across the country.
Mrs. Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday that the smash-and-grab crimes targeting retail stores is a major issue that has to be spoken out against.
“There is an attitude of lawlessness in a country that springs from I don’t know where … but we cannot have that lawlessness,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
“None of it is acceptable,” the California Democrat said. “It has to be stopped.”
The speaker added that the spike in crime extends beyond the high-profile incidents that have generated headlines about her hometown of San Francisco.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, announced this week a crackdown on crimes related to illegal drugs and gun violence.
“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” Ms. Breed said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to [be] more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls—t that has destroyed our city.”
Mrs. Pelosi’s comments represent another break with the far-left wing of her party, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently expressed some doubts about the reported rise in flash-mob thefts and smash-and-grab attacks.
“We have to talk about specifics because, for example, we’re actually seeing a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez previously told The Washington Times. “I believe it’s a Walgreens in California that cited it, but the data didn’t back it up.”
Statistics show that 2021 has seen rapid spikes in violent crime.
Chicago is seeing one of its worst years for homicides and violent crime in the city’s history, according to data released by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
More than 1,000 homicides have taken place across Cook County in 2021, with over 900 of them being gun-related.
As of Tuesday, Philadelphia has seen 3,923 shootings this year, compared with 3,752 at the same time last year, a 4.6% increase, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.
There have been a record 529 homicides in Philadelphia this year, compared with 470 at the same time last year, a 13% increase.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll this week found Americans have become increasingly concerned with crime.
The poll, conducted between Dec. 10-11, found that only 36% or roughly one-third of Americans approve of President Biden’s handling of crime.
The poll surveyed a random sample of 524 adults and had an error margin of 5 points.
Asked about skepticism cited by some Democrats on the crimes, the White House asserted its contrast to those views.
“We don’t agree,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Ms. Psaki touted the administration’s plans to shore up local police departments and said they’ve coordinated with state officials who have raised concerns about crime.
“We have seen some of these extremely disturbing videos showing retail theft,” Ms. Psaki said. “State and local leaders like Gov. Gavin Newsom have identified this as a serious concern. We agree.”
• Dave Boyer contributed to this story.