he ‘Defund the Police’ movement has resulted in cuts to police budgets and a reduction in the number of police on the streets in several large US cities. Supporters argue they just want to move money to social services, so that problems with crime are addressed by social workers rather than police. So how is that working out?
In major US cities last year, homicides were up 33% over the previous year. In EVERY major city where the police budget has been cut significantly, violent crime is up by significant amounts over the previous year. In some cities by dozens of percent.
Along with cutting back on police budgets and the number of officers, some cities have gone much further and just refused to prosecute crimes. Last summer, we saw that in Portland where the District Attorney just refused to prosecute most cases brought to him by the police, the result being that the city was rocked by violent riots for more than thirty straight nights.
San Francisco is the poster child for radicalism (no surprise there) and their approach to crime is no exception. On example: earlier this year, in the middle of the day, Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt were killed in a hit-and-run by another criminal with a long rap sheet, also driving a stolen car and high on crystal meth. The man who killed Abe and Platt had been arrested for 73 felonies and 23 misdemeanors in San Francisco alone. How can that happen? Well, it starts with the District Attorney.
Chesa Boudin was elected District Attorney in 2019, despite never having prosecuted a case in his life. Both of his parents were members of the Weather Underground, an infamous domestic terrorist organization whose members were convicted of several bombings, murder and other crimes. Boudin promised a very ‘progressive’ agenda, including reducing the city’s jailed population and refusing to enforce ‘quality of life’ crimes such as drugs and prostitution. And Boudin has done exactly what he promised. Within a few months of taking office, roughly 40% of the city’s prison population had been released. In 2020, the DA’s office dismissed 40% of the felony crimes brought to them by the police. In the last three months of 2020, 131 cases of domestic violence were brought and Boudin’s office dismissed 113 of them.
Again, the results are very predictable. Homicides in San Francisco are up, as are other crimes such as burglaries and carjackings. Arsons are up over 40%, often attributed to the fast growing homeless population. Boudin’s office refuses to prosecute shoplifting cases and it is now so rife in the city that Walgreens, a national pharmacy chain, has closed 17 locations in San Francisco. Even in San Francisco, probably the most radical place in the country, people are fed up with Boudin after only 18 months in the job and he is facing a recall election.
In Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood, the situation has gotten so bad that a group of three dozen business owners sent a letter to the Mayor threatening to withhold taxes and fees unless they got better police protection for the neighborhood where their businesses were located.
“We now realize that nothing will change unless we demand action,” the letter states. Businesses are facing a wave of crimes and they say that customers feel unsafe shopping in the area.
There is little doubt that there are places and situations where police reform is needed. Yet, it is clear that the ‘progressive’ definition of “police reform” is simply to try to reduce crime by ignoring it. The “Defund the police” movement has had very predictable outcomes People who think that is a good solution are naïve or have agendas other than the safety and security of the citizenry.