Over the last couple of months, anti-police activists have made increasing calls to defund the police in response to the death of George Floyd. But will defunding the police make cities safer? If the last couple of months and weeks are any indication, the answer is no.
The Brookings Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, describes defunding the police as “reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality. Defund does not mean abolish policing.”
An example, according to the Brookings author, is Camden, New Jersey, which apparently “disbanded (abolished) its police force and dissolved the local police union.” A report indicates that this effort has resulted in Camden becoming safer than 5% of American cities. Residents now have a 1 in 62 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, compared to 1 in 481 for the state of New Jersey.
If that’s the best example, then this effort appears to have been a colossal failure and many cities across the country are now feeling the effects.
Federal agents are being sent to Memphis and St. Louis, both cities with efforts to defund the police, in response to the increasingly violent situations as part of “Operation Legend.” As reported by The New York Post, these agents will help “tamp down rising crime rates, particularly gun violence.”
In a statement, Attorney General William Barr said, “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Memphis and St. Louis, two cities experiencing increases in violent crime that no resident of those cities should have to accept as part of everyday life.”
The operation is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro. The young boy was shot and killed in Kansas City on June 29.
The timing couldn’t be better.
The Wall Street Journal reports that homicides are up 24% in the nation’s 50 largest cities. The report also shows that 36 of the 50 cities had double-digit increases.
Chicago, one of America’s largest cities, is experiencing a massive increase in violence. According to reports, murders were up in July by nearly 139%. The Chicago Sun-Times states that “July saw the largest mass shooting in recent Chicago history, along with at least 58 minors shot.”
Perhaps the most notable murder in the city was of rapper FBG Duck, who was shot in broad daylight in the city’s Gold Coast area while shopping. Two other people were seriously injured in the drive-by shooting.
New York City is also experiencing a wave in crime and drug activity. Recently, neighbors living in the Upper West Side have started complaining about the city’s homeless men, who have been temporarily housed in some of the area’s nicer hotels. According to residents, these men engaged in “public urination, catcalling and open drug use.” Usually, these men are housed in dormitories, but due to COVID, they are staying one or two to a hotel room. Some of these men are even registered sex offenders.
A local nanny reported to The New York Post that men yelled at her offering crack while she was walking with her charge in a stroller. The men frightened the girl.
In addition to all the crime in the CHOP autonomous district in Seattle, which was established and then torn down, the Alki Beach area of the city is seeing an increase in violence, including a recent double shooting. Previously, Seattle has been one of the nation’s safest large cities.
Though activists have argued that defunding the police and allocating resources to other areas will help communities, just suggesting the idea has seemingly resulted in a spike in violence. If any of these measures are actually adopted, it’s likely that more American cities will become safe havens not for citizens but for criminals.
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