Last year’s calls to defund the police in response to George Floyd’s murder, and to the protests and riots that followed, resulted in many police forces having their budgets cut significantly. Politicians hoping to benefit from joining a popular social movement were quick to hop on the band wagon that identified the police as being too quick to shoot unarmed Blacks (a claim that is disputed by research), and that found the solution to such “systemic racism” in defunding police departments.
Many of the cities that responded to Floyd’s murder, and to the narrative that police shoot Blacks at disproportionate rates, by cutting their police budgets are now experiencing a significant rise in violent crime. Portland, OR, which cut $16 million from their police department, suffered 20 murders in the first quarter of the year, compared to one last year. Austin, TX cut 23% from their police budget and has experienced a 35% rise in murders. Philadelphia, PA cut $33 million and has experienced a 25% rise in murders. Minneapolis, MN, where Floyd was killed and which became ground zero for the “defund the police” movement, cut $9 million from its police budget and has suffered a 46% rise in murders. Los Angeles voted to cut $150 million from its police budget and has seen a 28% increase in its murder rate. New York cut $1 billion from its police budget and has experienced a 13% increase in murders. All of the mayors of these cities are Democrats, and they are largely dominated by Democrat policies.
The Washington Examiner reports: “Homicides in cities increased by up to 40% over the previous year, the biggest single-year increase since 1960, a trend that has not abated so far in 2021. Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw a rise in at least one category of violent crime, ranging from homicide and rape to robbery and assault, according to the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Homicides and shootings have gone up for three straight years in Washington, D.C., and at least a dozen mass shootings were reported nationwide over the weekend.”
Last August, Kevin Brock, writing for The Hill, decried the racism inherent in the “defund the police” movement. Brock wrote, “Violent crime within many major cities has jumped startlingly this year, with double-digit percentage increases — up from already unacceptable levels. Minorities, particularly Black Americans, are the main victims. And what is our response? ‘Defund the police.’ Make no mistake: Efforts to defund the police are truly racist policies, in implementation and in impact. Affluent communities will not feel the effects of reduced policing. Poorer communities already are reeling from higher crime that has gone unchecked — in some cases, by design, it seems — by politicians who want to restrict police actions. Politicians, by the way, whose blustering about their own need for beefed-up security exposes jaw-dropping hypocrisy.” Brock pointed out in the same article that, according to a Gallup poll, 81% of Black Americans wanted the same or more police presence in their neighborhoods. Their voices were not heard by activists pushing the “defund the police” agenda.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michael Moore said of the movement to defund police departments: “I won’t argue that there is substandard housing, education, broken families, substance abuse, the systems that are racist and have systemic issues that have gone on for generations. But the fix of that is not to eliminate policing.”
Some cities that defunded their police departments seem to now agree with Moore, as they are responding to the increase in violent crime by increasing their police budgets. In NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had jettisoned plans for a new police precinct, now intends to spend the $92 million to build it. Baltimore, MD, which had cut $22 million from its police budget last year, is considering a proposal from its mayor to increase police funding by $27 million. In Oakland, CA the city council put back $3.3 million of the $29 million cut last year and the mayor is proposing an increase to the police budget of $24 million in the wake of a rise in murders and in attacks on Asian-Americans. The mayor of Los Angeles wants to increase the police budget by $50 million. All in all, the Wall Street Journal reports, “In the nation’s 20 largest local law-enforcement agencies, city and county leaders want funding increases for nine of the 12 departments where next year’s budgets already have been proposed.”
The movement to defund the police had always been an attempt by activists to re-shape the American landscape according to novel and naive measures inspired more by utopian ideals than practical realities. For many politicians, it was pure virtue signaling. Most of the people who pushed to defund the police were not going to be impacted terribly by the defunding, their living in more affluent neighborhoods, or surrounded by their bodyguards. As usual, the people most negatively impacted were the poor and minorities, especially those living in neighborhoods dominated by gangs. This did not really matter much to the activists and politicians. Perception is everything, and the media helped push the perception that Blacks and other minorities were being indiscriminately gunned down by cops. That narrative is largely false. But, the narrative that the poor and those minorities who live in poor neighborhoods are being terrorized by gangs and drug cartels and by young men who are not invested in themselves or in their communities is not a false narrative. It is very real. And it is being mostly ignored.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.
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