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Los Angeles Wellness Check: Stolen Fire Hydrants and Meth Mania

Where the soft-on-crime road ends.

Basic markers of everyday community life continue to spiral downward in California’s largest city. As summer approaches, Los Angeles is struggling with a raft of social plagues that have been greatly exacerbated by its notoriously progressive affinities.

You thought things were bad when the local stores had to put the cosmetics and laundry detergent under lock and key? In LA, the swipe-anything pilferers have moved on to a new target: fire hydrants in residential neighborhoods.

“A California state water company has responded to an ever-growing rash of fire hydrant thefts in Los Angeles by installing locked shields to cover the bolts on hydrants to stop thieves,” KCAL-TV reported June 3. “Golden State Water Company owns and operates the fire hydrants and says thefts happen daily. South Los Angeles is one of the communities where thefts are high, with two of the most recent believed to have happened last Thursday [May 30], without neighbors even realizing it.”

Do Black Neighborhoods Matter?

South Los Angeles is home to a large black population. This means the libertine mantra of “criminal justice reform” fueled by the summer of George Floyd four years ago has now led to an inability to put out fires in black confines.

“It’s mind-boggling that someone would just come into a neighborhood and just steal a fire hydrant,” local resident Krystail Cousins told the station. “You’re now putting a whole neighborhood in danger.”

This is no small problem. “Thieves have stolen at least 302 hydrants since the start of 2023 in several areas of the county, according to Golden State Water Co.,” The Los Angeles Times reported June 5.

They’re not shy about it, either.

“Sometimes, thieves have unscrewed bolts to remove hydrants. Other times, they’ve used a vehicle to knock the hydrant loose,” the paper states. “Those targeting the hydrants have often used a shutoff valve before dislodging them. But on several occasions, they’ve left water gushing.”

Who ends up paying for this? That’s right, the same minority citizens the leftist radical activists claimed to be fighting for with their disband-the-police “decarceration” protests of 2020.

“Golden State Water, a publicly traded utility, said the thefts have amounted to more than $1.2 million in losses – costs that are ultimately borne by customers,” the paper noted.

‘Bizarre Behavior’ on Streets of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times was perhaps the single largest local big-box media voice celebrating the criminal reform agitators four years ago. Its wokeness has earned it derision on a national scale. This was the publication, after all, that in 2023 infamously blamed white automobile drivers for “polluting the air breathed by LA’s people of color.”

Which makes it all the more perplexing to see the paper furrow its lofty brow over the rise of criminal and other unsavory behavior today. “LA, we’ve got to talk about your meth problem,” The Times’ Editorial Board proclaimed in a headline to a June 10 missive to the city. “Los Angeles has recently seen a series of knife attacks and other crimes in which suspects exhibit not just violent but bizarre behavior often attributed by the public to mental illness, but which professionals say have the hallmarks of something else entirely: Meth,” the editorial begins.

Predictably, the editorial team stresses treatment solutions over enhanced law enforcement measures as the way to deal with the calamity. “[O]ffering rewards to recovering users for each day their drug tests are clean holds little appeal for critics who demand more traditional treatment and tougher penalties,” the paper laments.

No mention is made of the wave of illegal immigration into the City of Angels that has brought increased narcotics trafficking in its wake. On March 29, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that its officers arrested 28 illegals convicted of “drug trafficking or multiple drug possession-related offenses involving methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, or synthetic drugs” during a nationwide sting operation.

Among those arrested were a “25-year-old citizen of Mexico in [the LA County city of] Compton” convicted for transporting methamphetamine and a “31-year-old citizen of Mexico in Los Angeles” convicted for possession and transportation of meth.

“Focusing on punishing people who use drugs will further stretch the police force while not solving the larger problems,” a May 13 op-ed in The Times co-authored by a UCLA researcher asserted.

It’s precisely the same argument the strident voices of “criminal justice reform” made in an unbroken chorus back in 2020. The residents of south Los Angeles today are getting a bitter vision of the natural endpoint of such logic as they gaze out at the geysers where water hydrants once stood.

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