Crime is soaring in cities where police departments have been defunded, reports Fox News.
Movements to defund the police have grown since George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis. Defunding means reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality.
More than 20 major cities have reduced their police budgets in some form, though the scale and circumstances vary.
The results have not fared well in Los Angeles, Oakland, New York City, Portland and Austin. Homicides in Oakland, California, have risen 314 percent compared with the same time last year and law enforcement has seen a 113 percent increase in firearms assaults.
Violent crime surged in 2020 in Minneapolis following Floyd’s death, and murders have risen by 46 percent between Dec. 11, 2020 through March 28 of this year, compared to the same period last year.
The Minneapolis City Council in December shifted approximately $8 million from the police department to other programs. In July, it diverted $1.1 million from the police department’s $193 million budget to the Office of Violence Prevention.
Murders have tripled from July 2020 to February 2021 in Portland, where city commissioners last May voted to cut nearly $16 million from the police budget in response to complaints about police force and racial injustice. Seventeen people have been murdered in Portland in the first two months of 2021, a 1,600 percent increase from the one murder reported during the same time period in 2020.
But there were fewer reports of assault offenses during the same time period compared with last year.
New York City has seen 76 murders this year alone, compared with 68 from the same time period in 2020. The City Council in July approved slashing $1 billion from the police budget, which included nearly $484 million in cuts and $354 million reallocated to other agencies ”best positioned to carry out the duties that have been previously assigned to the New York Police Department, like the Department of Education, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the Department of Homeless Services.” Another $162 million was slashed through “associated costs,” the council said in a statement.
Los Angeles’ police department reported a 38 percent increase in murders in 2020 and a 28.3 percent increase in murders in 2021 through March 13. City leaders in July voted to cut the department’s budget by $150 million.
In Austin, where the city council voted to cut roughly one-third of the city’s $434 million police budget, aggravated assault reports were up 26 percent in 2021 as of February, compared with the same period last year.
”We are showing the country how reinvestments from the police budget can actually make many people’s lives so much better and safer,” Gregorio Casar, a councilmember in Austin, Texas, who helped pass the major cut, told the Guardian on March 11. ”This will build momentum for changes to police budgets across the country.”
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