John Teichert, Candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland
Crime, especially juvenile crime, is surging in Maryland. Statewide, handgun violations are up 220% in the last three years and carjackings are up 85%. In Prince George’s County, the epicenter of this surge, overall violent crime rose 10% in the last year, with carjackings up 49% and robberies up 29%. It is a public safety crisis that is hindering the well-being and the opportunity of law-abiding citizens throughout the state. The pro-criminal policies of certain local governments, the state government, and the federal government are at the root cause of these severe problems.
As I have traveled around the state during the last two months as your candidate for U.S. Senate, I have been honored to speak to several law enforcement leaders, including sheriffs affiliated with both political parties. Their concerns are acute and their challenges are stunning. The anti-law-enforcement bent of liberal politicians has created a series of insurmountable barriers to recruiting and retaining those responsible for protecting all of us. Almost all of these heroic law enforcement leaders point to pro-criminal policies at every level of government that have caused our society to cater to criminals while creating chronic concerns for our communities. They speak of laws that are crushing their ability to fight crime, and mounds of excessive bureaucracy and centralized state control that actually make it more difficult to maintain high standards in their force. They even lament a pro-criminal legislature that doesn’t understand nor embrace the basic concepts of law and order, and that has created a system where crimes are accompanied by a lack of accountability. These leaders are saddened that proactive policing is constrained by micromanagement at the state and federal levels; and a lack of respect for our first responders. It is a shameful display of dysfunctional politics that is harming the communities that the politicians claim to support the most.
Our substantial lack of public safety creates a slew of concerns that precludes human flourishing among our population in the great state of Maryland. Our educational system is burdened by unsafe neighborhoods. Our business climate is stymied by unsafe streets. Our economy is hamstrung by additive inflation prompted by security and safety concerns that make it more expensive to undertake normal business and societal activities. The government is failing to create a climate conducive to progress, well-being, and success. It’s no wonder that our population is surrendering in resignation to a lost hope in the American Dream.
President Biden’s border crisis exacerbates all these concerns. It is a national security crisis, a public health and drug crisis, a public safety crisis, and a humanitarian crisis. Law enforcement leaders pinpoint our out-of-control immigration policies and insecure borders as a root cause for crime and drug problems in every corner of our state. It is another example where the law-abiding are underserved by politicians who are focused on protecting the law-breaking.
The solution to the current epidemic of crime begins with rightfully supporting and elevating our law enforcement professionals. When I was the commander of Joint Base Andrews, I was in charge of a military security force composed of 700 Airmen responsible for protecting the president’s airfield. I knew that they could best do their job only if I supported them fully and resourced them robustly. When I was the commander of Edwards Air Force Base, the second largest base in the Air Force and responsible for the test and development of our nation’s most advanced and sensitive technology, I knew our security forces professionals could only control our perimeter if I prioritized and appreciated their critical role in our collective well-being. It all required that we enact tough and reasonable laws, and thoroughly, fairly, and consistently enforce them.
Today in Maryland, we are doing neither, and law and order is suffering and our citizens are struggling. We are failing to enact and enforce the laws needed to create conditions for progress, including the right mix of punitive and restorative juvenile policies and strict penalties for illegal gun possession and use. Even parents of juvenile offenders are starting to speak out, pointing out the obvious fact that their sons and daughters are getting away with crimes without punishment and without the chance to correct their life-path while still possible. Thus, our soft-on-crime juvenile policies that eschew accountability are actually condemning our errant young offenders to a life in the school-to-prison pipeline once they become adults and the lessons to be learned have come too late. As Sheriff Joe Gamble, President of the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association brilliantly wrote in response to a recent commentary on juvenile crime: “These laws are not designed to protect our children as their supporters intend, instead, they are enabling them and leaving them vulnerable to falling into a life of perpetual crime. There is no safe haven for these juveniles – they are just cut loose with little to no services, counseling, and accountability.” It is all part of a vicious cycle that is the natural extension of a pro-criminal society that we must reverse before it is too late.