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Is there a national backlash against lax crime prosecutors?

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Most Voters Support Removing Soft-on-Crime Prosecutors

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

With violent crime surging out of control nationwide, a majority of voters support proposed new laws that would replace local district attorneys who fail to prosecute criminals.

A new national telephone and online survey by the National Police Association and Rasmussen Reports finds that 58% of Likely U.S. voters believe a law permitting an appointed state oversight committee with the ability to remove state attorneys from office if they won’t prosecute violent crimes would improve safety. Just 21% disagree, while another 20% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters believe safety would be improved by a law permitting state attorney generals to appoint a special prosecutor if the local district attorney refuses to carry out their responsibilities. Twenty-four percent (24%) disagree and another 22% are not sure.

“We have to fight this anti-law-enforcement narrative pushed by these woke progressive prosecutors who have gained a foothold in this country,” said National Police Association spokesperson, retired Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith. “It has become obvious these progressive prosecutors, many supported by money from outside their jurisdictions, have obtained office not to protect the public, but to protect criminals.”

The survey of 982 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on February 7, 2022 by the National Police Association and Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The survey asked voters about the specific policies of big-city district attorneys – Alvin Bragg in New York, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, Kim Foxx in Chicago, George Gascon in Los Angeles and Kim Gardner in St. Louis – and found widespread opposition.

For example, Foxx’s office refused to prosecute five suspects arrested by Chicago police in a gang-related shootout that left one person dead, saying it was “mutual combat.” Sixty-nine percent (69%) of voters believe Foxx bears responsibility if the gang members commit more crime, and 72% say refusing to prosecute gang members for gunfights will make Chicago’s neighborhoods less safe.

Among other findings of the survey:

– Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters believe the policy of Bragg – who has instructed his staff in Manhattan to halt prosecutions for resisting arrest, among other crimes – makes it more likely people will resist arrest. Sixty-seven percent (67%) think that refusing to prosecute for resisting arrest will make arrests more dangerous for arresting officers.

– Seventy-two percent (72%) think Boudin’s policy in San Francisco of refusing to prosecute felons under California’s Three Strikes law, makes it more likely felons will continue committing crimes in the city.

– Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe Los Angeles will be less safe because Gascon refuses to prosecute minors in adult court no matter the crime, including murder. Gascon’s policy resulted in a gang member who committed a murder at 17 serving only six years of incarceration instead of a life sentence. Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters think Gascon bears responsibility if the killer commits additional crimes.

– Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe Gardner’s policy in St. Louis, which reduced prosecutions by more than 30% even as crime in the city was increasing, will make the city less safe. In one case, a judge released a first-degree murder suspect after prosecutors from Gardner’s office failed to show up for court hearings. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of voters believe Gardner bears responsibility for crimes committed by those released due to her non-prosecution program.

The survey found broad voter opposition to soft-on-crime policies and support for proposals to replace prosecutors who fail to enforce the law. For example, 68% of whites, 62% of black voters, 65% of Hispanics and 72% of other minorities believe that Bragg’s policy in Manhattan of refusing to prosecute resisting arrest will make arrests more dangerous for arresting officers.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of whites, 51% of black voters, 57% of Hispanics and 69% of other minorities believe safety would be improved by a law permitting an appointed state oversight committee with the ability to remove state attorneys from office if they won’t prosecute violent crimes. Such a law is supported by 72% of Republicans, 48% of Democrats and 55% of independent voters.

Voters are significantly more worried about inflation and violent crime than they are about COVID-19 or climate change.

After a year in which many cities set new homicide records, a plurality of Americans say crime is getting worse in their communities.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to the public as well as to Platinum Members.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

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