The Minneapolis City Council recently decided to strip the police department of $8 million in funding, as part of its response to the death of George Floyd. This went forward despite the surging crime rate throughout the city.
According to reports, there have been 532 shootings this year in the city, double from the same time last year. Robberies are up by 36%. Violent crime has also increased from 4,000 incidents last year to 5,100 this year. There have also been 78 homicides in 2020, compared to 48 in 2019. Reportedly 160 officers have either quit or are now on leave.
In the case of carjackings, overall the city has seen an increase of 331% this year, with many of these assaults occurring within the last couple of months. For example, in November carjackings grew by a staggering 537%. Before George Floyd the crime was so infrequent, the police didn’t track them and have now been forced to create a new coding system to manage the number.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a woman arriving for an early shift as a housekeeper was approached by two hooded teenagers demanding that she get out of her car at gun point. She put the car in reverse and the criminals fled, but not before they fired the gun three times, striking her vehicle.
In another story, a 71-year-old woman was the victim of a brazen beating and attempted carjacking by a couple of teens on a Sunday afternoon. Another woman had a similar experience on a Friday afternoon, and her car was later used in other crimes. Earlier in the year, “a father was dragged a short distance when he tried to stop a man from stealing his vehicle with his wife and child inside.” (As the victim of an attempted carjacking in the 1990s, I can tell you it’s a rather frightening experience.)
“It’s open season out there,” the 71-year-old woman said. “We’re not safe in this city.”
The police report that these criminals tend to target the elderly and unaccompanied women.
According to the popular local Facebook page called Uptown Crime, which tracks criminal activity in the city, there are now only 8 officers covering the area of “just south of Downtown Minneapolis to Richfield, from St. Louis Park to the edge of Powderhorn.” If there are two shootings in the area, they no longer have enough police officers to even respond.
In addition, due to a lack of staffing, the “5th precinct has been so overrun by calls they have had to queue 911 calls. They literally stopped responding to new 911 calls for hours.”
The idea that “defunding the police” would be helpful, by any means, is obviously an unmitigated disaster. But for city officials more interested in aligning with the Black Lives Matter movement than protecting its citizens, criminals have been allowed to brazenly continue their campaign of terror.
The city’s decision to defund the police department $8 million and instead put those funds towards “mental health crisis teams, train dispatchers to assess mental health calls and have other employees handle theft and property damage calls” will have little or no impact on this surging crime rate.
While there is nothing wrong with having a team that could respond to mental health crisis calls, it’s doubtful that a city bureaucrat responding to a family that feels violated after a home robbery would inspire much confidence.
This defunding experiment has shown that instead of decreasing criminal activity or addressing police brutality, it gives criminals carte blanche to steal, assault, terrorize and murder citizens, seemingly without fear of reprisal.
Photo from Olga Enger / Shutterstock.com