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VICTOR JOECKS: iSteal: Las Vegas Apple store theft shows failure of soft-on-crime

Las Vegas is now part of an unfortunate club. It’s one of many cities where a viral video has been shot revealing the ruinous results of soft-on-crime policies embraced by Democrats.

Last Saturday, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the Apple Store in Summerlin. That should have been the most newsworthy thing to happen there that day. It wasn’t.

The store was robbed Saturday — twice. Bryan Lebo, a Las Vegas real estate agent, filmed the second theft. In the video, an alarm blares while two hooded individuals pick up computers and tablets from the display tables. Lebo estimated the thieves took at least 10 items.

This wasn’t a smash and grab. This was a stroll and take. The video shows around a dozen employees standing toward the back of the store. One is on the phone, perhaps calling police, but none tries to physically stop the thieves.

These two robberies should shatter the complacency many people feel about crime. This happened in Summerlin, the wealthiest part of the Las Vegas Valley. It doesn’t matter where you shop, you aren’t immune to this.

This isn’t just a theft that affects one company. Crimes like this are assaults on something much deeper — the safety and security we’ve long enjoyed.

It can get worse. Just look at San Francisco, Chicago and New York, where repeat criminals break the law with impunity. One recent example: an illegal immigrant arrested for attacking NYPD officers flipped off reporters after being released without bail.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Societies can and have crushed crime. Look at El Salvador.

In 2019, El Salvador officials say the country had more than 2,000 murders. That’s a massive number for a country of 6.4 million. But last year, there were just 154 murders. In terms of murder, the country is now significantly safer than Clark County, which has a population of fewer than 2.4 million people and had 233 homicides last year.

All homicides aren’t murders, but the difference is obvious.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele didn’t achieve this by defunding the police and coddling criminals. He hired more police and built the largest prison in Central America. When gangs started killing civilians, he made life harder for gang members already in jail. He cut food rations and made prisoners sleep on concrete in their underwear. It worked.

Shoplifting is down 30 percent since the start of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ tenure. Why?

Let CNN law enforcement analyst John Miller explain it. He was talking to New York detectives recently about why illegal immigrants from Florida went to New York to steal.

“And I’m like, ‘Well, why don’t they just stay and steal in Florida?’ ” Miller said. “And they said, ‘Because there you go to jail.’ ”

Imagine that.

Even San Francisco is starting to grasp this. Late last year, officials celebrated a 50 percent decrease in car break-ins. What changed? Police launched an operation to target the crime, and the district attorney’s office did more to put prolific thieves in jail.

In 2019, Nevada Democrats gutted penalties for criminals. Then crime soared. Democrats may not want to admit they were wrong, but this isn’t rocket science. To reduce crime, put more criminals in jail.

Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on X.

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