Fox News host and personality Pete Hegseth joined “The Faulkner Focus” guest host Arthel Neville on Monday to discuss, among other things, dramatic increases in “smash-and-grab” robberies and other crimes, where he told her what he believes is “the dumbest slogan” for all of this year.
Hegseth said given the rises in crime, Democrat-backed “Defund the Police” is the most inappropriate.
Neville began the segment with Los Angeles-based Fox News reporter William La Jeunesse, who noted that around16 cities — including Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Austin — had blown through their all-time records for homicides in a single year.
“Arthel, you know, those statistics you mentioned have started a national conversation about policy and prompted voters in some areas to rethink who they elect,” La Jeunesse reported.
“Soft on crime prosecutors in L.A. and San Francisco are both facing recall. As you mentioned those – the cities along with those here in California are facing – seeing violent crime rates hitting levels not seen since the crack cocaine 1990s. California’s four major cities also seeing increases including Oakland,” La Jeunesse continued.
Neville then brought in Hegseth to talk about what impact those “soft on crime” policies have had and what can be done to turn things around.
“What do you expect when you let criminals out of jail with no consequence, almost no consequence?” Hegseth queried, adding that failure to address the rise in crime has left police demoralized, which led to departments becoming understaffed as more cops left those departments or left the field altogether.
“I saw it in the military context — if you don’t believe your politicians or military leaders have your back, there is a limit to the risks and proactiveness you’re going to take,” Hegseth added. “That’s the calculation law enforcement offices are making.
“Now many of them are short-staffed, there are dispatchers coming out and reporting on the fact we don’t have enough police in certain areas of Chicago and elsewhere to even cover down and basic assignments,” he continued.
“All of this creates a culture of lawlessness. Regular people, especially the most downtrodden and especially people hurt the most by crime, are affected even more while the politicians who yell about defund the police — the dumbest slogan of 2021, may we bury it, okay, understanding what good work our police do. Those who spout that have their own law enforcement ultimately often, or a nice gated community,” he said.
Neville concurred and said many officers were questioning why they should put their own lives at risk enforcing the law if the criminals were just going to be put back on the streets, oftentimes within hours.
“I want to ask you how can bail reform help solve this crime problem?” Neville turned back to Hegseth.
“What they’re doing is not bail reform. What they are doing is effectively a pro-criminal ‘catch and release,’” Hegseth said. “There was a reasonable discussion led by the Trump administration about criminal justice reform, ways in which our justice system was stacked against certain people in certain situations. That was a reasonable conversation … When you point at police officers and say, ‘You are racist, policing is racist. All cops are bastards.’ When you say that you create an ‘us against them’ dynamic that makes it impossible for police officers to do their jobs and very easy for criminals to be let right back out.”
“That’s an important point you make there. How do you solve that? There is something to be said about community policing and something to be said about misunderstanding each other. And there is this ‘us against them’ feeling in many communities. How do you fix that? Your opinion?” Neville asked.
“Well, first of all, you educate kids not to hate the cops and your country,” Hegseth said, pointing out that first, it should begin with a focus on border security and the concept that the U.S. is a sovereign country that must be guided by the rule of law.
“I think conversations are good but you need pro-active policing either way, whether you call it broken windows policing, community-based policing. You have police. When you let little things go you create bigger things, you create a culture of criminality. White people and black people and brown people and anyone in between equally and justice is blind to that reality,” he said.
“No one wants crime in their neighborhood,” Neville agreed.