A number of American cities that defunded their police departments have seen major spikes in crime and citizen pleas to restore funding, according to Sinclair’s “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.”
The cities slashed their police budgets after George Floyd died last summer while in police custody. A deadly April incident, wherein police shot and killed Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., more calls have arisen to reform, and – from some circles – abolish the police. In Attkisson’s latest show, the investigative journalist examined the consequences of those actions.
The Minneapolis city council voted to divert $9 million from the $178 million police budget to violence prevention and mental health.
Don Samuels, a community organizer and civil rights activist, has lived in North Minneapolis for over 20 years. “We who live in communities like this, we understand that there are a lot of people who are only restrained by external factors … Like the police, like the neighbors who are intervening.”
Samuels said that since the police budget has been cut, “We’ve heard more gunshots. We used to hear one gunshot every now and then. It seems like now everybody has an automatic rifle or something because it’s 20 shots at a time.”
As a result, Samuels said that, “For the first time — and let me say, my wife and I moved here to be part of the civil rights movement, the transformation of our community — for the first time since we’ve moved here, we said to each other something that we’ve never said before in 24 years, ‘Maybe we’ll have to move.'”
Across the country, other cities have made dramatic cuts, from New York taking $1 billion from its force, Washington, D.C. cutting $15 million, and Austin and Los Angeles each trimming $150 million from theirs.
But now, those very cities – and many others, for a host of reasons – have seen alarming spikes in violent crimes, especially homicides. The Los Angeles homicide rate is up 38%, Austin is up 41%, D.C. is up 14%, and New York is up 48%.
In Minneapolis, the homicide rate jumped 70% in 2020, with violent crime up 22%.