Cleveland Mayor's latest theory on cause of crime wave: Statewide Preemption
By Chad D. Baus
The City of Cleveland is now considered to be one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in America. Cleveland’s homicide rate has been on the rise ever since drastic cuts in the police department’s manpower and programs were made.
Just one week after Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson rightly theorized to the Cleveland Plain Dealer that a "drought" in the supply of powdered cocaine to his city "could be to blame for a spike in certain violent crimes close to home", it was back to the status quo for the anti-self-defense Mayor.
In an August 15 press release, while struggling to get ahead of the public relations debacle he faces while presiding over a 14.1% increase in homicides already this year (and a 26.5% increase in homicide with firearms), the Mayor labeled several things he believes has caused the crime epidemic. Chief among them is HB347, a law which took effect in March, which acted to guarantee uniformity on the state's gun laws.
Mayor Jackson's 8/15/07 press release states:
- "In large part, I attribute this to the increased availability of guns on our City streets and the increased arrests for organized crime surrounding drugs and guns."
In March, a new state law took effect prohibiting the City from enforcing our gun laws, such as those prohibiting weapons on school property, prohibiting a minor from possessing a firearm and the possession and sale of assault weapons. By enforcing its law, the State has crippled us in the fight against violent crime.
These two paragraphs are so full of contradictions, I'll need to take them one at a time:
Nowhere in the press release does Jackson explain how any of the gun control laws he laments losing would have affected even one of the homicides that have occurred in his city since the law took effect in March.
Mayor Jackson doesn't stop here. Attached to the press release is "A summary of the City of Cleveland’s plan to improve safety on City streets" - a time line on how he claims to have worked to reduce crime. The summary specifically mentions his wasting of tax-payer resources in a go-it-alone court challenge over HB347.
One thing is clear from this press release, however: It now appears that the mayor recognizes that he is prohibited from enforcing these useless laws, which is a staunch departure from his attitude following implementation of the Statewide Preemption. In March, Mayor Jackson actually ordered local law enforcement to violate state law and to continue to enforce the local gun control laws, something the President of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association nicely informed him they refused to do.