UALR Law Professor Robert Steinbuch joins Conduit News to discuss the crime surge in Little Rock and his most recent letter to the editor, “Keeping People Safe.”
Keeping people safe
Little Rock is not safe, and the mayor isn’t doing enough to fix it.
While the number of murders in Arkansas during 2020 grew by an astounding 34 percent from the prior year–over 15 percent greater than the national increase of 29 percent–Little Rock’s rate of increase in homicides surpassed the state’s already high tally (to which Little Rock significantly contributed, of course), with a 36 percent increase for the same period. And that increase is layered on top of the upward jump from the prior year.
This year is even worse than last. Little Rock is now in the middle of the absolute deadliest year it has seen in almost three decades. And digging deeper only reveals cause for greater concern.
In 2021, 301 were people shot, stabbed, or seriously hurt in Little Rock, and, of course, the year isn’t even over. That’s three times the total seen in 2015. And just last week, a carload of thugs sought to carjack a couple in the tony Heights neighborhood, firing some 30 bullets at the victims. The mayor’s disappointing response to one of the victims was to tell her that he’s praying for her.
That’s insufficient. We need our politicians actually working for us. To too many politicians, listing tangible items on a door hanger, like increasing the number of giraffes at the zoo, is more important than the seemingly more ephemeral quality-of-life issues that affect everyone’s daily lives–safety and security first among them. The single most important function of government is to keep the people who elect them safe.
The mayor has lost sight of the fact that he works for, and is responsible to, the electorate–his bloated distance-creating security detail notwithstanding. The mayor is failing at his primary task of keeping the peace. Public safety isn’t a right or left issue. It’s a right or wrong issue. And, so far, the mayor is coming up wrong.
** Professor Steinbuch’s views are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.**