Trump has talked often about how he will restore law and order and Make America Safe Again. But a new poll of crime victims shows that most of them feel less safe since Trump took office. And many of them disagree with the administration’s entire approach to law enforcement.
Commissioned by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, the pollsters talked to 847 crime victims. Not only did a majority feel less safe, but there was broad disapproval of most of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ agenda.
Victims don’t support Sessions’ attempts to withhold funding from sanctuary cities and they oppose increasing deportations as a way to reduce crime. That’s because, despite Trump’s talk about “bad hombres,” most of the victims don’t think that illegal immigration is a major driver of crime. When asked to name the two top contributors to crime in their communities, only 12% of victims mentioned undocumented immigrants.
What a majority did mention was drug and alcohol addiction. Unfortunately for them, Sessions has introduced a drug policy that former Attorney General Eric Holder said “is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime.” Rather than try to treat addicts, Sessions has instructed prosecutors to pursue the strongest possible charges and seek the maximum possible sentences. Always seeking the maximum sentence was yet another thing that most survey respondents didn’t approve of.
Sessions’ crusade against cannabis is the area of biggest disagreement for crime victims. Less than a third agree that the federal government should target cannabis users in states where it has been made legal. Sessions has bristled under the bipartisan budget deal that prohibited him from using his budget to do exactly that.However, he may still try, since Trump implied in a signing statement that he might disregard that law. Sessions has been an extremist on drug policy, comparing cannabis to heroin and saying that he thought the KKK was “okay until I found out they smoked pot.”
Sadly, neither Trump nor Sessions is likely to pay attention to the views of the views of the people they are supposedly trying to make safer.