(NewsNation) — District attorneys in cities including San Francisco, Philadelphia and Los Angeles have come under scrutiny from citizens who feel their policies on prosecuting crimes have gotten too soft, leading to upticks in crime.
In San Francisco, voters recalled former District Attorney Chesa Boudin after a crime surge in the city was blamed on his attempt to reform a criminal justice system he said was racist and ineffectual.
In Los Angeles, District Attorney George Gascon landed in hot water after a felon released from prison on parole killed a police officer with a firearm.
NewsNation host Leland Vittert argues district attorneys such as Gascon and Boudin, who he calls “soft on crime,” are to blame for an increase in violent crime in cities across the country.
Vittert points to a specific case in Philadelphia recently, in which a group of teenagers beat a 73-year-old man to death with a traffic cone as evidence crime is growing out of control in major cities.
“Ten-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy, teenagers, beat a 73-year-old man to death with a traffic cone … there is a condition of lawlessness in that city brought about by these policies,” Vittert argued on Thursday’s “On Balance With Leland Vittert.”
University of Pennsylvania professor Desmond Upton Patton, who lives in Philadelphia, argues that the root causes of crime are what need to be tackled, instead of the policies of district attorneys.
Solving systemic issues in health care, education and poverty that disproportionately impact minority communities is where Upton Patton sees the fix.
“We continue to need to develop supports and resources to prevent these types of incidents from happening,” Upton Patton said. “The young boys who committed this act, this act could have been prevented had there been enough resources in the city of Philadelphia to support alternatives.”
The full debate between Vitter and Patton Upton can be viewed in the video above.