At least six large cities have seen crime spikes after the election of liberal prosecutors backed by groups that have received funding from billionaire megadonor George Soros, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.
Motor vehicle thefts, homicides or both have surged in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis and New York since liberal prosecutors were elected with the help of funding from Soros. Soros, who has used “shell organizations, affiliates, and pass-through committees” like the Texas Justice and Public Safety PAC and Missouri Safety and Justice Committee to steer funds, spent at least $40 million in the last decade on prosecutors’ campaigns, sometimes representing 80 and 90% of their total funding, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) recently reported.
Experts who spoke to the DCNF believe policies championed by Soros-backed prosecutors have contributed to increased crime, especially violent offenses.
“Policies of non-prosecution, which a lot of the prosecutors that he’s supported have enacted, certainly contribute to crime, especially to the extent that they are triggered in cases involving repeat violent offenders,” Manhattan Institute Policing and Public Safety Initiative Research Head Rafael Mangual told the DCNF.
By refusing to prosecute crimes deemed “low-level,” cities are often releasing repeat offenders and disincentivizing the police from making arrests for such crimes, Mangual explained.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner
Soros personally contributed more than $1 million to the Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety PAC in 2017, with the organization spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign media supporting Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s first election that year, campaign finance records indicate. The PAC also paid for some pro-Krasner campaign advertising and mailing materials during his 2021 re-election cycle, receiving a $259,000 contribution from Soros that June.
Since he took office, homicides have increased by about 64%, according to data from the Office of the Controller. Auto thefts more than doubled during the same time period, from around 5,688 in 2017 to 14,533 in 2022.
Homicides and motor vehicle thefts have relatively high-reporting rates compared to other crimes, according to a 2021 study by the Federal Bank of Richmond, which makes them optimal indicators of overall crime.
San Diego and Philadelphia are two similarly sized cities with comparable access to crime because they are access points on major highways and close to other large cities, yet they have huge differences in prosecution style, Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Cully Stimson explained. Krasner “refuses to prosecute misdemeanors, refuses to add enhancements, [and there’s the] 31 career gang and homicide prosecutors he fired the first day in office,” Stimson recently told the DCNF.
In comparison to Philadelphia’s Krasner, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office prosecutes misdemeanors and aggressively pursues repeat offenders, Stimson argued.
“The difference between those two cities is dramatic. Crime has not gone up in San Diego. Period. Why? Because you have a real prosecutor,” Stimson said. “And so last year in the city of San Diego, about fifty murders.”
Philadelphia had 562 homicides in 2021, the highest number in its recorded history, according to an October 2022 report by the Pennsylvania State House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order. The committee placed at least some of the blame on Krasner; at the time of the report, the district attorney’s office had withdrawn 65% of all violent crime cases.
Though homicides declined by around 8% in Philadelphia in 2022 compared to 2021, they remained far more common than before Krasner took office, Philadelphia Police Department data reveals.
Further, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of firearm charges withdrawn by the district attorney’s office during Krasner’s tenure. The share of firearm offenses dismissed grew from roughly 25% in 2015 to 49% in 2020, according to data from the Office of the Controller.