Beyond Willie Sutton: Crime And Lack Of Punishment

Remember Willie Sutton—the criminal who said he robbed banks because that's where the money was?

Today, criminals from around the world come to America because it's where crime pays best.

Why would any ambitious thief remain in the low-rent boonies when the bright lights and fat wallets of the U.S. beckon? The Super Bowl of crime is just a border away.

And the U.S. simply hasn't responded adequately. It's as if the richest family in town didn't bother to lock their doors and windows.

The bad guys have noticed:

  • Thirty percent of federal prison inmates are foreign born—more than double the overall national percentage (11.1 percent). Imagine what the number would be if the criminal justice system wasn't hobbled by sanctuary policies, ethnic fifth columnists like La Raza and CAIR, and the homegrown enemy agent in chief, the ACLU.


  • A former NYPD homicide detective assessed that 70 percent of drug dealers and other criminals in New York City's Washington Heights were illegal aliens. (This is also from McDonald's must-read City Journal article, "The Illegal Alien Crime Wave.")


  • Identity theft, the fastest growing white-collar crime, is often illegal aliens acquiring credit cards and running up debts. It can befall middle-class professionals—journalist David Lazarus recently discovered that a Jamaican had written thousands of dollars in bad checks in his name.

There is an American Dream for foreign thieves and drug dealers—but it's not the one that sentimental pundits have in mind when they intone rapturously about the plucky immigrant approaching Ellis Island.

This glittering promise inspires a remarkably diverse group, from the Russian mafia and Mexican drug cartels to Chinese triads and Central American gangsters.

It's not just the swell crime opportunities which entice the scum of the world. It's also the "open society" philosophy of national nihilism embraced by anti-borders types like billionaire George Soros and his ilk.

More openness (i.e. multiculturalism) means less annoying judgementalism even about dangerous criminals in our communities.

From the criminal point of view, it is downright heartwarming how America opens its arms to the aspiring foreign crook.

For example, the sanctuary policy of some American cities and lately the entire state of Maine is quite the boon to criminals. Sanctuary directives prevent police from asking about the immigration status of a person in custody—so rude and injurious to delicate self-esteem!

Needless to say, any sanctuary policy is completely at odds with the "broken windows" theory of policing that is widely credited with recent crime reduction. The "broken windows" theory holds that disorder breeds crime. Small misbehaviors lead to larger crimes. But when an illegal alien is picked up on a minor violation, and is not deported but freed back into the local community, is he not emboldened by the fecklessness of American law enforcement?

Another example: many police departments have bought the La Raza nonsense that today's diverse communities require more ethnically-sensitive police work. Translation: ignore "smaller" crimes (like national breaking and entering). Then law enforcement will theoretically get more tips based on the "trust" engendered by touchy-feely cops.

PC policing is the opposite of "broken windows." Its failure is illustrated by the increased violence in Los Angeles (recently described as a "Mexican city" by its current mayor).

Even the liberal BBC recently headlined a story "LA 'on the road to Falluja'?". Correspondent Anita Rice observed that LA's 658 murders in 2002 were the highest number in the country. Half of those killings were gang related. The latest thing for gangsters: ambushing police, a serious escalation over mere shootouts.

LA Police chief William Bratton was brought in to deal with the growing crime problem. But he is a prime example of a political cop, the kind who fawns on ethnic lobbies to further his career, engages in endless outreach and has lost track of what enforcing the law means. Bratton is a supporter of Special Order 40, LA's version of sanctuary, and believes citizens should turn in their legal guns. Bratton's arrogant defense of his pro-illegal policies: "If you don't like it, leave the state."

Get that. In the upside-down world of southern California immigration politics, citizens who object to the massive invasion of illegal aliens are told to leave by Los Angeles' top cop. Incredible.

There have been many cases of violence from these criminal foreigners after arrests from which they should have been deported. Politicians apparently fear the rebuke from professional ethnic complainers like La Raza who raise a stink at any hint of immigration enforcement. That's too bad for the victims—many of whom happen to be Latino. If anyone cares.

One terrible case of sanctuary stupidity: the fate of 13-year-old Laura Ayala, kidnapped in Houston in 2002. An illegal alien now identified as a serious suspect in her abduction, Walter Alexander Sorto, had been picked up for numerous traffic violations several months before the kidnapping. But because of Houston's sanctuary policy, he was not deported. He remained in the U.S., possibly to kidnap Laura Ayala, who is still missing.

Sorto was convicted last year for the abduction, rape and murder of two other Houston women, Roxana Capulin and Maria Moreno Rangel, and now awaits his execution.

Another repellent creep with illegal status, Reynald o Elias Rapalo, had been arrested for a "lewd and lascivious" molestation in October 2002 after his visa had expired. But he was not deported from Miami. "We're not immigration," police spokeswoman Herminia Salas Jacobson said.

The Honduran is now accused of a series of rapes in the Miami area of victims ranging in age from 11 to 79. He was arrested due to the sharp police instincts of Sgt. William Golding after a huge community effort including billboards of the perp sketch to find the man had not been successful.

Rapalo had shown plenty of signs that he was trouble—his fondling of a 10-year-old girl, his threat to beat up a girlfriend with a hammer, his harassment of another man's wife, his frequent obscenities yelled at local women. But, curiously, there was apparently no alarm about Rapalo in his neighborhood. Surely such misogynistic behavior is not the norm in Little Havana?

Even CBS's liberal Sixty Minutes presented a segment in February, about South American "boosters"—not La Raza cheerleaders of illegal immigration, but gangs of organized shoplifters. Ten billion dollars worth of merchandise is stolen from stores annually. A goodly chunk of it is lifted by well-trained foreign gangs. There may be 1,000 of these teams operating throughout the U.S.

Most of the perps are illegal aliens who learned the trade of pickpocketing in their South American homelands and have moved up to bigger game here. Some of these pros graduated from the now-defunct "school of the seven bells" in Colombia, where bells were attached to pockets on a mannequin, and students had to unload all seven pockets noiselessly to graduate.

Who says Hispanic culture doesn't celebrate excellence?

In America, store security has regarded shoplifting as an opportunistic crime of teenagers and bored Hollywood celebs like Winona Ryder, not major merchandise removals to a truck waiting outside. Like the law enforcement authorities, retail business has been slow to awaken to the sheer size of globalized crime that open borders have brought.

Consequently, sentencing for shoplifting is still slanted toward high school kids. The illegal alien gangs are literally making out like bandits.

Among foreign gangsters, one of the ways in which criminals are enticed to America is through the word of mouth from trailblazing alpha gangsters. An excellent case study appears in Sam Quinones' book True Tales from Another Mexico, a fascinating examination of the underbelly of Mexican society, with crime and gangsters given special attention. One chapter focuses on the small fry thugs in Zamora, Michoacan, and how they seek to emulate their bad-ass spiritual cousins in South Central LA: the boys emulate the cholo style of baggy pants and tattooage, although their lowriding occurs on bicycles rather than in modified Chevies.

One highlighted trailblazer: Simio, who had a major American Dream—bigger and better theft. Upon his arrival in a nondescript Los Angeles suburb, Simio was thrilled with the opportunities to steal. He developed a normal routine of robbing two houses during the day and one at night. This discipline was necessary to feed his thousand-dollar-a-day crack habit.

Simio returned to Mexico after three months in juvenile detention. He exhorted the homeboys to get more serious about their gangstering.

"I woke those boys up," Simio reported. "They were all asleep. They didn't have the urge to rob. They weren't stealing anything."

In time, some of those young men would make the journey to America, already trained in thievery, drug use and gang behavior.

The plain fact is that, contrary to the Mexican and Big Business propaganda that "they only come to work," a substantial number of foreigners come to steal.

Congress and the President still act as if all the individual pain, societal cost and financial outlay caused by mass immigration is justified by "cheap" labor and "diversity."  

Washington remains unconscious, drugged into oblivion by the fat campaign contributions.

And the proliferation of criminal aliens moves us toward anarchy.

Brenda Walker [email her] lives in Northern California and publishes LimitsToGrowth and ImmigrationsHumanCost.