While commenting on the wave of smash-and-grab robberies plaguing businesses across the country on Friday, a CNN analyst claimed he has “no idea” why such crimes are on the rise — only to offer an answer seconds later.
“Many of the young people we arrested had no previous criminal records, and why they were getting involved in something like this I have no idea,” said former Philadelphia police commissioner and CNN senior law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey on CNN’s “New Day.”
“I don’t know what’s driving all this,” he added, seeming perplexed. “But it is of concern, and it will continue. It’s not going to stop any time soon.”
Then, without any sense of irony, the former police chief noted, “The punishment for this kind of crime is very, very minimal.”
“In most cases, it’s a misdemeanor,” he continued. “There are some D.A.’s that have flat-out said they’re no longer going to prosecute shoplifting. And this is not shoplifting. This is something far worse than shoplifting.”
Video of Ramsey’s remarks can be seen in an article published by the Media Research Center.
There have been multiple reports from all around the U.S. in recent weeks of armed robberies and brazen shoplifting at retail stores and many fear the problem will only get worse as the holiday shopping season enters full swing.
Earlier this month in Walnut Creek, California, a roving band of at least 80 armed and masked burglars descended on a Nordstrom department store, smashing shelves and making off with scores of stolen goods. Around the same time, more than a dozen masked burglars in the Chicago suburbs rushed into a Louis Vuitton store and stole over $100,000 in product for the third time in a matter of weeks.
Similar smash-and-grab robberies have occurred elsewhere around the nation, and are often being carried out by juveniles and young adults.
Critics have argued that these crimes will continue to damage local communities until district attorneys in those jurisdictions punish the behavior with more than a misdemeanor charge. In many cases, the offenders who commit the crimes are also allowed to walk free under zero or low cash bail policies.
Ramsey, for his part, has pointed this out to CNN’s audience. On Thursday, he told a network anchor that “organized shoplifting” ought to be charged as a “felony” so as to serve as a proper deterrent.
Yet even during that interview, Ramsey was reluctant to connect the dots entirely, instead saying again that he “really do[esn’t] know” what’s “driving” the incidents.
‘Smash & grab’ robberies increase at retail stores