The Democrats in charge of Washington, D.C., are learning a painful lesson about letting crime run rampant on city streets.
Last week’s announcement that the state of Virginia and the company that owns two of D.C.’s most prominent sports teams have reached an agreement to move the teams across the Potomac River to play outside the district didn’t include a word about the murderous conditions of the capital city.
But the specter was never far from the surface.
On Wednesday, as WRC-TV in Washington reported, Virginia officials and executives of the company that owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals unveiled the $2 billion plan for the teams to move to a sports complex in Alexandria, Virginia.
The deal will be a benefit to the Commonwealth of Virginia, of course, but it would not only cost the District of Columbia two iconic sports teams, it would hit the city hard in terms of revenue, costing an estimated $25 million a year, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, according to WRC.
“The deal would transform a growing Northern Virginia neighborhood and send shockwaves through downtown D.C, which is accustomed to hosting tens of thousands of fans but has struggled with crime,” WRC reported.
Not that anyone would think that had anything to do with Monumental Sports and Entertainment’s decision to move across the river. As WJLA-TV in Washington reported Friday, no one at the company mentioned crime in the district as compelling the move.
But a WJLA interview with Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares told a different story.
“I think they mainly looked at Virginia because we’re open for business. I think that the governor has shown that,” Miyares said, getting the party line out of the way first.
“But I would say from just an 80,000-foot view it is clear to me that crime is having an impact in the District in its entirety,” he said.
“I’ve heard from so many Virginia residents that have said they used to enjoy going into the District, going to the Kennedy Center going to different movie theaters or plays or entertainment or restaurants. And now they try to avoid the District, particularly at night with the rash and carjackings and murders and robberies.
“So I think there has generally been for so many Virginia residents that are commuting to the district and live in the D.C. suburbs a sense of fear of that they can’t go into the district and feel safe.”
Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears agreed.
“It’s not just about money, but you got to talk about the environment. … What is the surrounding area of the venue?” Sears said Wednesday on “The Vince Coglianese Show” on WMAL-FM in Washington, according to the Washington Examiner.
“If you go to the game and you’re having fun but if you leave the game having to look over your shoulder, that’s an issue.”
Miyares and Sears are Republicans, their political careers aren’t tied to kowtowing to the soft-on-crime Democrats who control the District of Columbia.
This is the same city government, remember, that painted an entire street with a “Black Lives Matter” mural during the 2020 summer of nationwide rioting over the death of a drug-addicted counterfeiter named George Floyd in Minneapolis. Considering Black Lives Matter rioters hit D.C. with the ferocity they hit other cities, it was a tacit endorsement of citywide crime.
And the problem hasn’t stopped. Anyone who follows the news knows the district has a growing crime problem. As of Friday, according to statistics from the Washington Metropolitan Police, homicides are up 34 percent over 2022 and robbery is up 68 percent.
On the bright side, assault cases are only up 2 percent and sexual about cases are down 1 percent. But that still leaves a violent crime increase of 39 percent over last year.
Meanwhile, car thefts are up a staggering 88 percent. On Thanksgiving Day, the district recorded a near-unbelievable 100 percent increase in carjackings on a year-to-date basis over 2022. Overall, the numbers show a 27 percent increase in crime.
So, what could possibly make well-heeled D.C. suburbanites (probably Democrats themselves, but leave that aside) antsy about taking a chance on an evening downtown to watch a sports contest — and wondering if the car would still be in the parking lot when the game was over?
D.C. Democrats are in denial, of course. Bowser — not bright even by Democratic standards — called the crime problem a “blip,” according to the Washington Examiner.
But there were more lucid views out there:
Another sign that our blue-run cities are in a spiraling death knell … “No one wants to go to downtown DC.”
Washington Wizards, Capitals plan to depart DC as crime crisis intensifies; Youngkin celebrates movehttps://t.co/QlKSii1Nx5
— davd soul (@davdsoul) December 15, 2023
Turns out that allowing rampant crime and providing poor services has consequences? Who knew?@MayorBowser are you embarrassed or ashamed that you are playing such a lead role in ruining a fantastic city? Serious question.#youngkin#Capitals #Wizards #WashingtonDC https://t.co/Jyn2OgTybB
— Michael Dalakis (@monkey449) December 13, 2023
Crime is up, the Wizards and Capitals are gone….great job Bowser. https://t.co/63rRjCdnih
— Say it aint so (@nephesh) December 13, 2023
There’s no doubt there were other issues. In November, The Washington Post reported, Monumental Sports and Entertainment asked the district for $600 in renovations to its current facilities in downtown D.C.
On Tuesday, according to WRC, probably hearing of Wednesday’s blockbuster announcement, the district offered a $500 million renovation package. It was apparently too little, too late.
But the reality is, the district didn’t have the cards to play. Like other Democratic-run cities across the country — New York, Chicago, San Francisco, you name it — they’ve allowed their streets to become jungles where outsiders fear to tread. At some point, those strangers, and their money, will simply stop coming.
Reality has a way of inserting itself into even progressive plans. The moment is inevitable, whether those at fault admit it or not.
And when it comes, it’s going to be painful.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.