Across the nation, activists, politicians, and celebrities have repeatedly called for the defunding and even the dismantling of police departments, mainly as a response to officer-involved shootings. As a result, police departments in major cities have seen their funding shift in the last year, some dropping by millions of dollars.
The knee-jerk reaction of reallocating police funds to social services programs without a firm plan in place has had an unintended but foreseeable consequence- a sharp rise in crime.
As crucial funding is diverted into social programs, police departments in metropolises such as Los Angles, New York City, Austin, Minneapolis, and Portland have been trying to make do with less. Though they try to keep as many officers on the streets, it is just not possible for some.
This has led to tough budgeting calls. Departments have had to lay off officers, discontinue training courses, or choose to reduce their yearly hiring plan.
The recent movement is only partially responsible for these significant cities’ budgetary issues. Many of the departments have expected to receive slightly lower funding than previous years due to the pandemic. However, in many cases, receiving a smaller budget does not mean that there is less work to be done.
While an increase in crime has been prevalent in all of these cities, it has not been across the board. According to Fox News’s information, the upturn is only in violent crimes like murder.
In Minneapolis, budgets were slashed in July of 2020. Since then, homicide rates have gone up 49 percent, with 58 murders up from 39.
Before their budget cuts, Portland, Oregon, had fairly low crime stats registering 17 murders from July 2019 to February 2020. However, from July 2020 to February 2021, the city had 63 homicides, a 270 percent increase.
New York City was another who cut their police budgets and saw a climb in their crime. Murders only had a slight increase. However, shootings climbed 40 percent over the previous year, with 39 percent more shooting victims.
Los Angeles City Council culled $150 million from its department’s budget bringing staffing to a 10-year low. Los Angeles has had 77 murders, up 28 percent over last year, with shootings up to 303 from 157 last year.
Cities need their officers to protect them from violent criminals. It is no surprise that almost every city that significantly reduced its department’s budget has a rise in crime. It is now open season for violent offenders.