‘Defund the Police’ Is Over. Now What?
People care more about crime in their own neighborhoods than the statistically rare killing of an unarmed suspect. George Floyd was terrible, but not business as usual. In fact, out of over 10 million arrests in 2021, only 27 unarmed suspects were killed by the police. Think of the chances for something bad to happen every time there's an arrest? BTW, 18 of those were white (even though blacks are four times more likely to commit crimes).
Does that excuse the FOP's coddling of bad cops? No. In fact, until law enforcement starts enforcing bad policing along with crime, they're going to have limited success in earning "trust" back.
Also, let us not forget that 14 of 15 large cities are run by Dems who routinely use cops to collect funds from the poor with ridiculous policies. Minorities can routinely get hassled for small traffic violations, get saddled with exorbitant fines and get vehicles impounded, cutting off their ability to commute to work. Unusual...no, not unusual! That's not a cop problem it's a municipal administration problem. Dumb.
Finally, as the story below explains, the national campaign to throw cops under the bus has made it more or less impossible to hire new officers as older one's quit or take early retirement.
‘Defund the Police’ Is Over. Now What?
The Chicago mayor’s race and Biden’s veto show Democrats are trying a new strategy.
By William A. GalstonFollow
March 7, 2023 1:11 pm ET
Lori Lightfoot, the incumbent Chicago mayor, received only 17% of the vote last week in the first round of balloting and failed to advance to the runoff. First-place finisher Paul Vallas, who ran on a law-and-order platform, got nearly twice as many votes. Two days later, President Biden informed Senate Democrats that he would not veto a Republican-sponsored effort to overturn the District of Columbia’s newly enacted bill that would have reduced criminal sentences.
On Sunday New York Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat and police veteran, called Ms. Lightfoot’s defeat a “warning for the country” and defended his tough-on-crime stance. “New Yorkers felt unsafe, and the numbers showed that they were unsafe,” he said. If other Democrats “want to ignore what the everyday public is stating, then that’s up to them. I’m on the subways. I walk the streets. I speak to every day working-class people. And they were concerned about safety.”
These events prove that dealing with the crime surge is back on the national agenda. Democrats must find a way to demonstrate their commitment to public safety while pursuing reasonable reforms of the criminal-justice system.
President Biden has some work to do. In a recent YouGov survey, 62% of respondents said the issue of crime is “very important” to them. But despite Mr. Biden’s steadfast rejection of calls to defund the police, only 32% approved of his handling of the issue.
As veteran Democratic political analyst Stanley B. Greenberg pointed out last fall in a stinging article, Americans—including substantial portions of the Democratic base—trust Republicans more to deal with crime. Unless Mr. Biden can separate himself from the negative perceptions of his party on crime, he will pay a price in 2024. His decision not to veto the sentencing reform bill was a necessary step in this direction.
Some left-leaning Democrats insist that crime is a phony issue that Republicans and centrist Democrats have ginned up for political advantage. My own experience suggests that crime is increasing, as is concern among citizens who have no motive to hype the issue.
About a year ago, my wife, who follows the neighborhood listserv carefully, noticed an alarming uptick of reported crimes in our area. We live in Maryland’s Montgomery County, a prosperous area with good public schools and a wealth of social services. Homicides in the county surged by 88% from 2020 to 2021 while carjackings rose by 72% and identity theft by 62%. (My wife and I have recently been victims of identity theft several times.) In 2022 violent crime rose 13%. At midyear, the county’s police chief reported that while homicide was leveling off, nonfatal shootings had soared by 75% and public shootouts were increasingly common.
Montgomery County isn’t defunding the police, but officials report increasing difficulty finding new recruits to compensate for the accelerating pace of retirements and departures. During 2021, the number of officers fell by more than 4%. In 2022 resignations and retirements surged by 64% while the number of new recruitments continued to fall, leaving 129 positions vacant. The county’s legislative analyst projected that the county could have more than 200 authorized and funded positions—about 18% of the total—unfilled by 2025. Last month the county unveiled a new strategy—a $20,000 signing bonus for new recruits—in an effort to stanch the bleeding.
Montgomery County isn’t exceptional. It’s typical, and that’s the point. Long-overdue efforts to hold men in uniform accountable for abuses have caused the morale of decent veteran officers to fall, even in well-managed departments. Around the country, retirements and resignations are way up and recruiting efforts have struggled. In Louisville, Ky., where Breonna Taylor was killed, 300 positions are vacant, and a recent class for new candidates was only one-third filled. A survey of current members of the Louisville force found that 75% would leave if they could.
A vicious circle impends. As the departure of veteran officers thins police ranks, crime is likely to rise further, especially in communities that are already hard-hit. But as recent events in Memphis, Tenn., show, sending inexperienced and inadequately trained police into hot spots can prove disastrous.
This is a dilemma not only for Mr. Biden and his party, but the whole country. Tolerating police excesses in the name of crime control is no longer an option and never should have been. We must find a way of restoring both public safety and public confidence in law enforcement. It’s time to tone down the rhetoric and get to work.