Editors at National Review Online ponder one left-coast city’s latest response to criminal activity.

There are moments in politics that herald change. The defeat of the Democratic speaker of the House, Tom Foley, in 1994 made clear the scale of the Republican Revolution. The defeat of the British cabinet minister, Michael Portillo, in 1997 marked the definitive end of the Thatcher years. The removal of Mike Schmidt, a feckless progressive prosecutor in the city of Portland, Ore., is the most dramatic of several recent indications that, at long last, the tide is turning in America’s most beleaguered metropolises.

In recent years, Portland has become a byword for fashionable left-wing guff, including the notion that crime and homelessness are little more than voluntary social constructs that are better fought with kind words and substantial welfare spending than with the assiduous enforcement of the law. After he was elected as the Multnomah County district attorney in 2020, Mike Schmidt implemented every bad idea in circulation. He supported the ending of cash bail. He reduced the prosecution of misdemeanors. He flirted with defunding the police. He resisted calls to clear the city’s many homeless encampments. Despite Portland having hosted some of the worst riots of the long summer of 2020, Schmidt steadfastly refused to go after any of the perpetrators — including those who had damaged the city’s center, engaged in disorderly conduct, resisted arrest, or otherwise interfered with the work of the police. This wolf, as a great man once wrote, came as a wolf.

The results were utterly predictable. Portland’s murder rate rose precipitously in 2021 and 2022 — and it remains higher than it was prior to Schmidt’s arrival. Rather than responding to the reduced use of cash bail by staying on the straight and narrow and then gratefully showing up in court, the number of people who committed crimes while awaiting trial increased.