Reducing police resources will ultimately result in poorer service to the law-abiding residents of high-crime areas. Officers without back-up will be more stressed and at higher risk of poor judgment. Response times will increase. Cash-starved agencies will train less, not more, while lower pay scales will result in less qualified recruits.
A reduced police presence in minority neighborhoods will claim more Black lives. When officers back off of proactive policing under accusations of racism, violence shoots up. That was the case in cities recently examined by Harvard economists. After investigations opened up into a media-grabbing instance of police use of deadly force in Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ferguson, Missouri, and Riverside, California, there were almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies, their study found.
Cops pulled back from discretionary activity — questioning a suspicious person on a known drug corner, for example — and simply drove on by. Such stops are voluntary; cops are not mandated to make them.
In Chicago, the Harvard economists found, the number of police-civilian interactions decreased by almost 90% in the month after the investigation into deadly force was announced. In Riverside, interactions decreased 54%. In St. Louis, self-initiated police activities declined by 46%.
By contrast, in cities where incidents of police use of deadly force were under investigation, but did not go viral or grab national attention, homicides and total crime went down. Police officers were not afraid to continue policing.
– Heather Mac Donald in There is no epidemic of fatal police shootings against unarmed Black Americans