(thepostmillennial)Since George Floyd’s death in May, Black Lives Matter activists have demanded that their elected officials “Defund the Police.” But many Democratic-controlled cities that followed through with these far-left demands are today witnessing an uptick in violent crimes.
In June, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler spearheaded an effort over the summer to “increase police accountability and reinvest in black and brown communities.”
Wheeler proposed that over $7 million should be redirected from the Portland Police Bureau to communities of color. His “Police Reform Action Plan” sought to dissolve the city’s Gun Violence Reduction Team in order to “fundamentally re-shape” law enforcement’s approach to shooting prevention.
The city reported that although year-to-date shootings rose 10.8 percent by May, the months of June, July, August, and September suffered 96.8 percent, 186.1 percent, 195.1 percent, and 243.8 percent hikes respectively.
Portland’s recently-established Red House Autonomous Zone (RHAZ) on North Mississippi Avenue almost immediately experienced an increase in shootings. Authorities recovered a stockpile of guns during the Dec. 8 morning raid. All charges levelled against every individual arrested at the scene were dropped by the progressive district attorney.
New York City
The country’s largest city announced $1 billion in cuts to the New York Police Department’s spending in late June. The city slashed two of the NYPD’s four training classes which reduced headcount by nearly 2,000 uniform officers.
“This was a hard-fought battle, which marks the beginning of the Council’s efforts to not only limit the size and scope of the NYPD, but also reimagine how we structure criminal justice and public safety in this city,” according to the New York City Council press release that detailed Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, and Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson’s agreement on the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget.
The city instead tossed $1.8 million toward LGBTQ curriculum at the Department of Education, $1.4 million for LGBTQ senior services in every borough, and $1.9 million for Trans Equity Programs.
That same month, the number of citywide shooting incidents increased by 130 percent since the previous year. Then in July and August, shootings rose sharply, reaching 177 percent and 166 percent year-over-year increases respectively.
“We normally see a 30 percent increase in shootings in the summer,” former NYPD crime analyst supervisor Christopher Herrmann told Insider. “This year it was a 150 percent, 180 percent increase. It was just out of control.”
In August, the Seattle City Council voted to axe its police budget by 14 percent for the remainder of 2020, KOMO News reported. Only one of the eight council members voted against the proposal, arguing that the cuts did not go far enough.
The measure served to eliminate 100 officers, which prompted Police Chief Carmen Best to resign effective Sept. 2. The city’s top law enforcement official declared her retirement decision just hours after the city council implemented its first substantive cuts to the department’s budget—including the salaries of Best and department executives.
Best was the first black woman to lead the Seattle Police Department and spent 28 years serving the city’s police force. “It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers, the men and women who work so hard, day in and day out,” she told reporters.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about the respect,” reiterated Mayor Jenny Durkan, who noted that the council chose not to slash the salaries of any other municipal department heads or its own staff.
In June, the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area approved a $150 million cut to the Los Angeles Police Department for the next fiscal year. Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris applauded the move, backing Mayor Eric Garcetti.
When asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether or not if America needs fewer police on the streets right now, Harris answered: “We need to recognize that if you invest in communities, they will be healthy, they will be strong, and we won’t have a need for militarization of police.”
Compared to last year, shootings in Los Angeles are up by 34.1 percent, murder is up by nearly 30 percent, and aggravated assault is up by 8.3 percent, according to the LAPD’s most recent crime statistics.
The Austin City Council voted unanimously to slash its police department budget by $150 million—34 percent of its $434 million budget—in August. In addition to funding $100,000 to ensure “abortion access,” the plan reinvested $21 million into mental health response, supportive housing, and victim services.
Shortly after, the city watched its murder rate climb in comparison to previous years. Homicides grew by 40 percent in September compared to the same point in 2019. According to the Austin Police Department chief’s monthly report in October, the incline leaped to 54 percent.
While it may be too early to assume if the trends will sustain, Austin also saw increased rates of burglary, aggravated assault, and statutory rape, among other serious crimes.