Is Defunding the Police a Good Idea?
Throughout the past year and a half, more and more Americans have considered the idea of defunding the police, especially in large metropolitan areas. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular U.S. cities in order to better understand this situation: Los Angeles.
One of the main objectives of the Black Lives Matter Movement is to defund police forces across the nation, accusing them of being coherently racist institutions. To specify, defunding the police means that a city reallocates funds from their police department and instead places the funds in another chapter within the local government. Yet, it is not just the Black Lives Matter Movement who believes in these measures. Politicians such as Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, and Cori Bush support defunding, as well as the Vice President and President. Harris told reporters in 2020 that “we’ve got to reexamine what we’re doing with Americans’ taxpayer dollars.”
Back to Los Angeles. In 2020, the city voted to pass “Measure J,” an amendment that took funding away from the police department and instead invested it into affordable housing, employment, minority owned businesses, and “alternatives to crime,” and substance abuse treatments. That summer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that his police department would receive a cut up to $150 million.
The results of this policy? Crime skyrocketed across Los Angeles. The number of homicides increased to a level unseen for a decade. The number of shots fired (that were reported to police) increased by forty-eight percent. So what did Garcetti do? He reversed his decision to defund the police this summer and voted for a $36 million boost in police funding.
Crime has fluctuated in the U.S. for many years, and there is no simple solution to reducing crime and racial discrimination. Yet, if Los Angeles is any indication of the effects defunding the police has on society, then crime will continue to be pervasive. What are your thoughts about these policies?
*disclaimer— I recognize that not every participant in the Black Lives Matter Movement supports police defunding, but as a whole, the organization has consistently demonstrated this belief as a part of their agenda.
ABC 7 https://abc7.com/defund-the-police-lapd-los-angeles-mayor-eric-garcetti/6289037/.
Crosstown LA https://xtown.la/2021/08/11/high-murders-los-angeles/.
LA Magazine https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/crime-in-los-angeles/
National Review https://www.nationalreview.com/news/who-wants-to-defund-the-police/
New York Post https://nypost.com/2021/03/27/la-agency-votes-for-36m-police-boost-as-crime-surges/.