Philadelphia has become the largest city in the U.S. to block police from stopping vehicles for certain traffic infractions, a move that will threaten public safety as the city is experiencing a year of terrible criminal violence. Mayor Jim Kenney issued an executive order Wednesday putting into effect a bill passed by City Council that forbids police from stopping drivers for “secondary violations” such as broken taillights, obscured license plates, or improper registration or inspection stickers. Law enforcement experts say allowing police to make such traffic stops often leads to the discovery of illegal weapons or drugs and can help prevent potential future crimes.
At least 458 murders have occurred in Philadelphia in 2021, a record-setting pace that is threatening the city’s grisly all-time record of 499 homicides, set in 2020.
Former mayor and congressman Lou Barletta, the leading Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, today issued the following statement:
“We are in the midst of what will probably be the bloodiest year in Philadelphia’s history, and Mayor Kenney’s reaction is to tie the hands of police even further. The answer to our growing violent crime problem isn’t less policing – it’s letting our men and women in blue do their jobs to keep our communities safe.
“We have traffic laws for a reason, and sometimes they provide police with the opportunity to stop real crimes and save lives. Reducing the effectiveness of law enforcement is an outgrowth of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement and should have no place in our strategy to keep our neighborhoods from becoming war zones. This wrong-headed policy may make leftists feel good about themselves, but what it will really do is place the communities with the most need in even greater danger than they already are. Aside from preventing crimes, these traffic stops also mitigate the possibility of vehicle accidents and injuries, which will save lives and keep auto insurance rates from skyrocketing.
“When I’m governor, we will not tie the hands of our police officers and I will seek solutions to make sure we are enforcing all laws to keep our citizens safe. But Pennsylvanians deserve to know where Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is supposed to be the top law enforcement official in the Commonwealth, stands on this important public safety issue. Does he side with the law-abiding citizens of Pennsylvania, or does he endorse this dangerous experiment in woke identity politics?”