Could Los Angeles Or San Francisco Be The Next Detroit?

Few would have imagined in 1950, when Detroit was the country’s fifth-largest city, the undisputed car capital of the world and one of the most important cities of its era, that it would become synonymous with urban decay. Yet it happened there. Which means it can happen anywhere, even California.

Steep taxes, smothering regulation and a hostile business climate are leaving businesses with little choice but to escape from California. Residents, particularly from the middle class, are fleeing too.

But “progressive” economic and regulatory policies – identified by economist Thomas Sowell as “increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions” – were not the only factors in Detroit’s decline. The Motor City was hollowed out in part by the flight of residents who’d had enough of the crime. Sowell said the riot of 1967, which killed 43, injured nearly 1,200 and damaged more than 2,000 buildings, “marked the beginning of the decline of Detroit to its current state of despair.”

Today, more than a half-century later, “Detroit’s violent crime leads the nation,” according to The Detroit News.

It’s vital at any time to recognize how crime can destroy a city. It’s even more so today, given that the elected prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco have clearly indicated that the peace and tranquility of their constituents is secondary to the political left’s social justice agenda.

Chesa Boudin was elected San Francisco district attorney in 2019 on an anti-incarceration platform that included a promise to end gang enhancements – increased prison time for gang-related crimes – the use of cash bail to ensure that defendants appear in court and application of the state’s three-strikes law.

Boudin, the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, members of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist group responsible for bombings and murders, according to the FBI, is a former deputy public defender who had never prosecuted a case. From the beginning, Boudin announced that he would not prosecute quality-of-life crimes such as “public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc.”

Other crimes seem to be low on his prosecutorial list, as well. Through August, homicides were up 23% over 2019, burglary increased 43%, and car theft went up 34%. By December, home and commercial burglaries had soared by about 46%.

Authorities suspect the surge “is being driven in part by chronic offenders,” according to the San Francisco Examiner.

“Boudin’s lack of prosecutions is fueling a burglary epidemic,” the Marina Times reported in September. “Boudin’s term started with a 23% leap in robberies and upticks in burglaries and car break-ins. After the March 16 Covid-19 shutdown, with retail stores closing and tourists and rental cars disappearing, criminals transitioned to stealing cars, starting fires, and committing burglaries.”

Boudin took office after beating interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus, appointed after former District Attorney George Gascon stepped down, in a tight race. Gascon was next seen running for, and then winning in November 2020, the prosecutor’s job in Los Angeles County. Gascon doesn’t have a record in his new office, but he did leave behind a trail in San Francisco. Like his successor, he didn’t believe quality-of-life crimes should be prosecuted. Apparently, they are merely a “nuisance” to residents. Seems he didn’t think it worthwhile to separate criminals from society, either. Under Gascon, San Francisco incarceration rates were one-fourth of those in Los Angeles.

When Gascon announced his resignation, the San Francisco Police Officers Association’s response was “good riddance.” While “happy” he was leaving, officers still felt “horrible” he was “taking his record of failure to an even larger county where he can cause even more harm to public safety.”

Gascon, a former Los Angeles police officer and San Francisco chief, quickly introduced “reforms” at his new post. On the first day, he eliminated cash bail, told his prosecutors they are to no longer seek enhanced prison sentences, and are to show “leniency to many low-level offenders.” His deputies responded by asking a judge to relieve them of the limitations Gascon has placed on them, which they say are in conflict with state law.

To be fair, crime increased in a number of urban areas during the pandemic. But not all prosecutors have publicly declared they were going easy on crime, nor have all taken campaign cash from George Soros, the billionaire who is determined to disrupt American society. Boudin and Gascon have done both. And now they are part of the “progressive” movement that’s driving businesses and residents out of California.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute. Read More

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.


  1. Detroit succumbed to the recipe for third world status following the same rules we now see in all our formerly great urban centers: (1) raid the treasury, and (2) hire the relatives. This formula destroyed our formerly great K-12 public schools system as well.

    Abusing OPM and nepotism creates civic downfall – what can the “people” do about this? After our in house stolen 2020 election, and the piling on against Trump from every quarter at the 11th hour, it appears nothing more can be done.

    At the 11th hour of the Obama administration, he was holding secret meeting on how to destroy Trump and Samantha Powers was demanding hundreds of FISA unmasking orders that served absolutely no known purpose .They brought down America in secret and did far more damage than this street theater momentary takeover of the Capitol Building curiously facilitated by the Capitol Police union members.

    The Obama and Democrats dual systems of justice is what cannot stand. The seeds of insurrection were sown in the 11th hours of the Obama administration; not the final hours of the Trump administration.

  2. John Funderburk says

    I sure hope so-let the cities be reworked by whatever means -they stink and the politicans that run them are the problem

  3. This is the success story of Progressive Democrat rule.
    And, we have just been introduced to a Nation wide Progressive Democrat ruling team.
    Led by a crime boss and lying congressmen and women from both sides of the aisle.
    Republicans failed the Citizen with their either they were cowards or they were colluding with the deep state for wealth and power of their own.
    Tyranny, America, is inside the front door and it is led by Schumer and Pelosi. Remember what they promised? That is tyranny pure and simple and they will violate your Constitution with their boot on your neck.
    Don’t trust them, watch your back, and continue to prepare and be that Minuteman. You may be needed.

  4. Sooner or later the Conservative faction or this country will realize that trying to talk to across the aisle is merely blowing smoke up your own ass.

  5. Chris Renner says

    While I can’t be certain, Los Angeles is probably already insolvent, with current and future liabilities well in excess of their annual budget. It’s pension obligations now take over 20% of its budget, insurance premiums will undoubtedly rise after the property damage due to the riots and sales tax revenue drops precipitously when you lock people down. Of course crime is up 70% in the last four months so things are looking up! It has over 65 agencies that do a little less than nothing but with Garcetti in charge of fairness and diversity, I’m sure they’ll be able to accomplish as much within the next two years as they have in the past two years. And then, of course, comes the Depression in late 2022 or 2023. Mismanagement will really be exposed their!

    San Francisco has a better balance sheet because of tourism but with that taken away, it’s just a matter of time before SF has the same problems as LA.

    LA and SF are praying for a Biden bailout but I’m not sure that even Georgia or Maryland Democrats are going to vote for granting good money after bad.

  6. Pelosi calls public pension bail outs – “honoring our first responders.” She was shocked when Trump refuse to bail the public pensions out in the latest “covid relief bill”. So she went on yet another unhinged TDS rampage.

    See Transparent California for our total “first responders” compensation packages- the full cost to taxpayers for each individual. Then decide if we have already honored them more than enough, and probably way too much. Since all their unions do is give us the back of their hand and demand even more.

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