It is inevitable at some point that the failed criminal policies of Chittenden County prosecutor Sarah George and other extremist progressives will become sufficiently evident that Vermont will take action to protect its citizenry from criminals, rather than treat all criminals as victims of society. (That is, after all, the traditional role of police and criminal justice systems — to protect society from dangerous people.) In the meantime, Vermonters are the subject of an experiment that has visibly gone wrong despite the denials of the social justice cult.
The progressive extremism of expunging criminal records, paring back probation, eliminating cash bond, decriminalizing narcotics, and reducing jail terms is leading to an increase in crime, especially in Vermont. By treating criminals as “systemic victims,” it is exposing vulnerable citizens to systemic criminal predation.
In a recent question and answer exercise on my Facebook page, I asked Vermonters, “Are you feeling less safe living in your Vermont community?” to which many people strongly responded, especially about feeling unsafe in Burlington (the Sarah George epicenter of revolving door prosecution). Interestingly, and typical of the left-wing effort to gaslight and dismiss factual data and other people’s lived experiences, one gentleman posted this sarcastic comment:
Wow!! All these comments about how bad Vermont is. I just didn’t notice. I look around and see the wonderful state I’ve seen since moving here as a child. It’s weird that some people can look at the same place and see a place that’s riddled with crime. I should keep my eyes open I guess … or maybe I should just realize that some people are complaining for their own probably political reasons.
This person’s effort at an attack is quite self-defeating — their eyes are indeed not open, and they have here dismissed not just all the people who posted their personal experiences about fears of visiting Burlington and why they no longer shop there as “complaining for their own political purposes,” but all the women who have been raped in Vermont. (Perhaps they are just complaining about being hospitalized to drum up some political hay?)
For those who indulge in facts and logic, the headlines clearly prove that the near-anarchist shift in Burlington in just a few decriminalizing, justice reinvention, delusional, utopia-building years has seeded violence and suffering unprecedented in that city. Attacking the police and removing them from the streets, dropping cash bail, and reducing criminal penalties happens to be a far more effective recruitment technique for out-of-state criminal entrepreneurs than $10,000 payments to employees to come live here (though it costs much more in lost lives and destroyed happiness in the long run).
The numbers do not lie — Vermont was experiencing a visible rise in serious crimes even before COVID and the rise in fentanyl and other deaths. Serious crimes in Vermont increased 62.3% from 2015 to 2016; federally reported violent crimes in Vermont increased 26.9% from 2016 to 2017 (followed by a flat 2018). Serious crimes increased a whopping 102.2% in 2019 over 2018: robberies increased from 71 to 385, and larcenies from 8,832 to 15,320.
Truly, left-wing extremists are exposing Vermonters to more and more crime with their “hear no evil, see no evil, do evil” political ideology, and it is proving the fallacy of the entire “theory” of social justice upon which they have staked Vermonters’ future safety. But citizens are the true “stakeholders,” not the predators who prey on them. The dismissive comment on my Facebook page reflects just how insensitive and perversely dogmatic are the liberals who enjoy a safe life while others suffer the consequences of their destructive policies. It also shows that this guy likely never visits Burlington.
Burlington has been a national leader in decriminalization. Unleashing society’s most dangerous and dysfunctional criminals on unsuspecting citizens is precisely what the dysfunctional State’s Attorney’s Office in Chittenden County has set out to accomplish, and the results are obvious. Criminals are treated with kid gloves while devastated victims are left to fend for themselves.
The destruction in the city of Burlington is becoming too visible to gaslight anymore. For Vermont, the violent crime rate is 1.68 per 1,000 residents, or 1 in 595; in Burlington it has spiked to 3.53 per 1,000 residents — 1 in 283 of residents will be victims of a violent crime each year. Burlington now gets a D+ rating on crime — the national total crime rate is 2,346 per 100,000 people; Vermont’s is 1,390; Burlington’s is 2,760. The problem has escalated in tandem with the Sarah George decarceration crusade, according to crime data:
The 2019 crime rate in Burlington, VT is 263 (City-Data.com crime index), which is about the average for the U.S. cities. It was higher than in 79.1% U.S. cities. The 2019 Burlington crime rate rose by 45% compared to 2018. … In the last 5 years Burlington has seen rise of violent crime and decreasing property crime.
Vermonters are now more than twice at risk of assault or violent crime while shopping in Burlington than other parts of the state, thanks to the city’s takeover by social justice warriors clamoring for free drugs and housing while they attack those who work for a living or value personal security. Since paring back police protection of citizens in order to protect criminals from unproven police racial bias, graffiti, vandalism and other defacements of Burlington have exploded. (But, citizens are assured, there is no gang activity!)
But worse, commuters trying to get to their jobs are having as much trouble as the shoppers who complained on my Facebook page. WCAX reported:
The Burlington Business Association has announced a new safety escort program. Downtown employees will be able to call when leaving work from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. They will then be escorted by a trained security professional to their car or transportation. … This effort comes as the Burlington Police Department continues to address budget cuts which they say have led to short-staffing during overnight hours. That, along with continued safety concerns from workers, led the Burlington Business Association to spearhead this program. … “For over a year hearing from women and downtown employees about safety concerns, about harassment happening, about being witness to violent events,” said Kelly Devine of the Burlington Business Association.
Perhaps the problem is criminals are being deliberately released by progressive government agencies to inflict crimes on residents. A June 30, 2022 corrections department report shows that of those released from prison in the first half of this year, 24.7% (p.7) had been charged or convicted of serious felonies (aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, or murder), and that 12.2% of those released (p. 5), and 13.7% of those rereleased (p. 12), were BIPOC. This means that the corrections department is releasing BIPOC inmates at more than twice the rate of their underlying representation in the Vermont population. (Are they letting people out because of skin color?)
Of course I am here being satirical — the analysis I just applied is exactly the reverse analysis of the one fraudulently concocted by UVM Professor Stephanie Seguino, who abused statistics to allege Vermont police are racist by measuring BIPOC inmate populations while excluding their residency. In the midst of a narcotics epidemic in which inner city dealers traffic drugs to Vermont, Seguino not-so-cleverly mismatched the data to use BIPOC inmates from all geographical origins as numerator and Vermont BIPOCS only as denominator (as I did above using corrections date without regard to completion of sentence, underlying guilt, or other factors) — this is academic fraud for which she has never even been called to answer while police and criminal justice policies are fashioned after this obvious ideological falsehood. (Shame on UVM!)
Another factual case that Vermonters will not hear on the news is the attack on a UCLA anthropology professor named P. Jeffrey Brantingham for creating a policing tool that was condemned as racist:
Jeff had developed simulation models of the geographic and temporal patterning of urban crime, and had created predictive software that he marketed to law enforcement agencies. In Spring 2018, the department’s Anthropology Graduate Students Association passed a resolution accusing Jeff’s research of, among other counter-revolutionary sins, “entrench[ing] and naturaliz[ing] the criminalization of Blackness in the United States” and calling for “referring” his research to UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Research, presumably for some sort of investigation. This document contained no trace of scholarly argument, but instead resembled a religious proclamation of anathema.
There is a growing disconnect between real-life criminal trauma and the ideological technocratic control of the criminal justice system which will increase suffering in pursuit of a dogmatic, racist cult. Progressives who tax the poor to fund the rich are concurrently liberating hardcore, mentally ill and drug-addled predators onto the streets of Burlington to rapaciously enjoy an equitable spree.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2022. All rights reserved.