Raise your hand if you saw this coming…over a year ago. After the George Floyd killing, blue cities controlled by far left city councils and spineless mayors jumped on the newly fashionable “reimagine policing” bandwagon and cut their police departments’ budgets. Sometimes drastically.
The airy-fairy new approach to maintaining law and order floated at the time involved diverting money away from beat cops toward more “holistic” approaches to crime such as social programs and “violence interruptors.” Cities would send social workers to respond to domestic violence calls rather than armed police officers. Fewer cops carrying guns, they said, would ultimately mean less crime and fewer minorities shot and killed.
How did all of that work out? Exactly the way anyone without a (D) after their name or an advanced degree in interdisciplinary grievance studies predicted.
Combine fewer cops on the beat with expanded zero cash bail policies and a new breed of prosecutors who have no interest in prosecuting any but the worst offenders and reimagining law enforcement has resulted in an unmitigated disaster.
As the FBI has reported, violent crime increased 5.2% last year. Keep in mind that all of the defunding took place in the second half of 2020 or early 2021, so that number doesn’t reflect a full-year effect. “The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses rose 12.1 percent, and the volume of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses increased 29.4 percent.”
In short, shootings and murders are at decades-long or all-time highs in cities across the country.
Surprising no one at all, the people most often victimized by the spike in violence live in urban and lower income areas. Most of them are minorities…the very people the vocal proponents of these utopian policies said they wanted to help.
Maybe that’s why virtually everyone who has asked has found that the people who are most often victimized by the increase in violent crime would rather have — wait for it — more cops on the street, not ill-conceived progressive “solutions” to society’s problems.
So, as day follows night, cities are beginning to re-fund their police departments. Such progressive wonderlands as Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and Baltimore have decided that maybe fewer police on the streets really wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Two of the latest to get on the re-funding bandwagon are Oakland and Los Angeles. In Oakland . . .
In a reversal of plans to divert funding from police to social services, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Monday that she’ll push to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department and seek to quickly hire more officers amid a spike in violence and homicides that has left some residents afraid to leave their homes.
The mayor’s announcement came after a weekend in which three people were killed, including a retired police officer acting as a security guard for a television news crew, bringing the number of homicides to 127 so far this year.
To address the violence, Schaaf said she’ll ask the city council to reverse funding cuts scheduled to take effect next year, though she still supports diversion efforts.
“When those messages and services are not effective … the consequences must be swift and certain,” Schaaf told reporters Monday on a Zoom call. “There is nothing progressive about unbridled gun violence.”
And further to the south . . .
The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday approved a $213-million budget increase for the Police Department next year, a plan that would raise police staffing levels.
The commission voted to approve LAPD Chief Michel Moore’s request for a $1.9-billion budget, representing a 12% increase in spending from the general fund over this year. More than half of the increase would cover police salary, related expenses and overtime costs, according to a letter Moore sent to the commissioners last week.
Moore wrote that he is seeking funding to add 94 positions to boost sworn staffing levels to 9,800 positions and to restore civilian positions lost through a recent city separation incentive program.
Homicides this year are up 14% over last year and up 45% compared with 2019, LAPD statistics show. The city is also seeing a rise in violent robberies, spurred by an availability of handguns, Moore told reporters at an afternoon briefing. …
“As the city grapples with increases in gun crimes, homicides and fatal follow-home robberies, it is critical that the department recovers from the ‘defund the police’ cuts and that city leaders stop listening to the reckless ideas of anti-police groups,” [police union president Craig] Lally said.
Violent crime across the country had been on a historic three decade-long decline until 2020. Then newly fashionable progressive policies — many of which are still in place around the country — were rammed through as responses to the George Floyd killing and fiery, but mostly peaceful protests that followed.
Now comes the long, painful, expensive process of re-learning lessons about crime, punishment, law, and order that were conveniently tossed out with the charred, post-rioting rubble. If only someone could have seen any of this coming.