A liberal on law and order in the Twin Cities

I’ve written a couple of times this week about the problem of crime in the Twin Cities – specifically St. Paul – and the response of the authorities. Mayor Carter wants to cut five officers despite 2019 already having seen more homicides in the city than in 6 of the previous 10 years. The money can be better spent on green vehicles and, anyway, people should just phone the police less, as Ward 4 council member Mitra Jalali Nelson helpfully suggested.

Urban crime is a recurrent problem in the United States. In the early part of this century, the Twin Cities were notoriously crime ridden and corrupt. When he ran for Mayor of Minneapolis in 1945, the great liberal Hubert Humphrey said

“The gangsters of Chicago are out to take over the city and are on their way to doing so unless they are stopped. We are starting to see business move out of the city – and people are going, too, to the suburbs. This must be halted if Minneapolis is to go on as a city”

For him, back then, there was no contradiction between being liberal and being tough on crime.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.