Defunding the Police Would be a Suicidal Move

National protests and riots following the incident of the deadly police brutality have featured a common rallying cry: “Defund the police.” Across the country, calls to defund, downsize or abolish police departments are gaining new traction. Jeremiah Ellison, a member of the Minneapolis City Council, announced on Twitter a dismantling of the city Police Department. The New York Times reports that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he would cut as much as $150 million from a planned increase in the Police Department’s budget. In New York, the Police Department will see a $6 billion budget cut. “Progressive” officials such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have declared the police in their states is “beyond reform.” Leftist observers agree: we must “starve the beast,” because, as The Atlantic suggests, if cops cannot stop killing people, and black people in particular, society needs fewer of them. That is also a central demand of  Black Lives Matter that states that “law enforcement doesn’t protect or save our lives.”

Undeniably, the incidents when the police officers react to tense situations with excessive force that sometimes lead to tragic outcomes do occur – but most likely as the result of inadequate training rather than racism. It is clear that when it happens, the matter should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law, and the guilty offenders punished. That is what justice that the rioters demanded actually is.

To listen to the narrative of the systematic racism practiced by the police, however, one would think that most police officers are card-carrying members of the Ku Klux Klan who run around randomly shooting black men to get a kick out of it. Never mind the criminals that they catch, the crimes that they prevent – which includes saving black lives, all while embracing the risk of being killed, the chance of which surpasses odds of the criminals to be killed by the police.

Then, there is a well-known racially disproportionate data of the violent crimes. The socioeconomic factors that drive that data are well studied and include unemployment and poverty, exposure to poor neighborhoods, poor access to public education, rampant drug use, high school dropout rates, and the breakdown of the family structure, where 77 percent of African American children are now born to single mothers. Despite the disproportion in committing violent crimes, there were 172 whites, 88 blacks and 57 Hispanics shot to death by the police in 2020, with a trend decreasing for all racial categories.

Unbeknown to most on the left (or maybe it is just ignored), there is extensive data-driven research that proves that cutting budgets for the police while simultaneously demonizing their image increases crime rates. It’s been thoroughly analyzed and described, among others, by Heather Mac Donald in her book The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.  Dr. Mac Donald chronicles the events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, that followed the killing of Michael Brown, including the ensuing riots, which have been repeated to devastating effect in other cities following police-citizen confrontations. She argues that the increasing hostility toward -- and murder of -- police officers had led to a so-called “Ferguson Effect” in which police officers in some communities were standing down by cutting back on proactive policing, particularly in high crime areas, out of fear for their safety or of being falsely accused of racism, which has, in turn, led to more crime.

Specifically, it is shown that homicide rates in 56 large U.S. cities were up approximately 17 percent in 2015 over 2014 (much more in some cities), which was the largest increase in a quarter century; then, they went another 15 percent up in the first half of 2016. And it was not just homicides that were up; there have been more than 600 more non-fatal shootings, over 1,000 more robberies, and nearly 2,000 more aggravated assaults compared to the first half of 2015. In Baltimore, where crime rates had shot through the roof (murders had increased by 63 percent in 2015), police officers had quit in large numbers fearing for their lives (e.g., firearms-related killings of law enforcement officers – of all racial backgrounds -- were up a staggering 61 percent in 2016 nationwide).

If the body count was racking up in many of our inner cities, it was not because police officers were randomly shooting black people; it was because black people, predominantly black men, were shooting each other. As Mac Donald notes, “young black men commit homicide at nearly ten times the rate of young white and Hispanic males combined,” and their victims are overwhelmingly other black residents who live in their communities.” In Chicago, for instance, in 2015, 2,460 African American people were shot, compared to 78 white people. In 2011 (the last year for which data was released by the Chicago police), 71 percent of those committing murder were black and 75 percent of murder victims were also black. Homicide became the number one cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 1 and 44. And, Mac Donald adds, “until the black crime rate comes down, police presence is going to be higher in black neighborhoods, increasing the chance that when police tactics go awry, they will have a black victim.” As Candace Owens advises, if you truly believe the policemen are racists and you don’t want to be shot by them, try to minimize the encounters by committing less crime.

It seems like the leftists who call for defunding the police either do not understand the possible outcomes of it, or they intentionally escalate the situation by attacking one of the core institutions of the society. It doesn’t appear to them that if you don’t particularly like the house you live in and decide to burn it, you won’t automatically get a mansion in its place – you’ll get the ashes. By defunding the police, you won’t get safety, you’ll get more crime. Pair it with a strict gun control in Democrat-run cities and states, promoted, in particular, by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and you get “Hello, anarchy!” And then, “Hello, communism!”

The proposed “redirection of funds” from the police budget to “social programs” is not going to work without the meaningful employment and economic stability that would turn an economically depressed population into a self-sufficient middle class. And this is exactly what started to evolve due to Trump’s policies. In three years, Trump had done more to solve the problem of the black vulnerability than the Democrats who have had nearly exclusive control over almost every major city in America for decades. We’ve burned trillions of tax dollars to fight the War on Poverty and trying to improve public education. The Democrats had instituted every policy they believe in with little to no opposition and failed. If they genuinely cared about the black lives, they would promote an economic growth while dropping the race-baiting narrative that vilifies more than half of the population while victimizing the rest and demonizing a force that protects both.

Photo credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped)

correction: Michael Brown was killed not murdered

Please follow Veronika Kyrylenko, Ph.D. on Twitter or LinkedIn.

National protests and riots following the incident of the deadly police brutality have featured a common rallying cry: “Defund the police.” Across the country, calls to defund, downsize or abolish police departments are gaining new traction. Jeremiah Ellison, a member of the Minneapolis City Council, announced on Twitter a dismantling of the city Police Department. The New York Times reports that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he would cut as much as $150 million from a planned increase in the Police Department’s budget. In New York, the Police Department will see a $6 billion budget cut. “Progressive” officials such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have declared the police in their states is “beyond reform.” Leftist observers agree: we must “starve the beast,” because, as The Atlantic suggests, if cops cannot stop killing people, and black people in particular, society needs fewer of them. That is also a central demand of  Black Lives Matter that states that “law enforcement doesn’t protect or save our lives.”

Undeniably, the incidents when the police officers react to tense situations with excessive force that sometimes lead to tragic outcomes do occur – but most likely as the result of inadequate training rather than racism. It is clear that when it happens, the matter should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law, and the guilty offenders punished. That is what justice that the rioters demanded actually is.

To listen to the narrative of the systematic racism practiced by the police, however, one would think that most police officers are card-carrying members of the Ku Klux Klan who run around randomly shooting black men to get a kick out of it. Never mind the criminals that they catch, the crimes that they prevent – which includes saving black lives, all while embracing the risk of being killed, the chance of which surpasses odds of the criminals to be killed by the police.

Then, there is a well-known racially disproportionate data of the violent crimes. The socioeconomic factors that drive that data are well studied and include unemployment and poverty, exposure to poor neighborhoods, poor access to public education, rampant drug use, high school dropout rates, and the breakdown of the family structure, where 77 percent of African American children are now born to single mothers. Despite the disproportion in committing violent crimes, there were 172 whites, 88 blacks and 57 Hispanics shot to death by the police in 2020, with a trend decreasing for all racial categories.

Unbeknown to most on the left (or maybe it is just ignored), there is extensive data-driven research that proves that cutting budgets for the police while simultaneously demonizing their image increases crime rates. It’s been thoroughly analyzed and described, among others, by Heather Mac Donald in her book The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.  Dr. Mac Donald chronicles the events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, that followed the killing of Michael Brown, including the ensuing riots, which have been repeated to devastating effect in other cities following police-citizen confrontations. She argues that the increasing hostility toward -- and murder of -- police officers had led to a so-called “Ferguson Effect” in which police officers in some communities were standing down by cutting back on proactive policing, particularly in high crime areas, out of fear for their safety or of being falsely accused of racism, which has, in turn, led to more crime.

Specifically, it is shown that homicide rates in 56 large U.S. cities were up approximately 17 percent in 2015 over 2014 (much more in some cities), which was the largest increase in a quarter century; then, they went another 15 percent up in the first half of 2016. And it was not just homicides that were up; there have been more than 600 more non-fatal shootings, over 1,000 more robberies, and nearly 2,000 more aggravated assaults compared to the first half of 2015. In Baltimore, where crime rates had shot through the roof (murders had increased by 63 percent in 2015), police officers had quit in large numbers fearing for their lives (e.g., firearms-related killings of law enforcement officers – of all racial backgrounds -- were up a staggering 61 percent in 2016 nationwide).

If the body count was racking up in many of our inner cities, it was not because police officers were randomly shooting black people; it was because black people, predominantly black men, were shooting each other. As Mac Donald notes, “young black men commit homicide at nearly ten times the rate of young white and Hispanic males combined,” and their victims are overwhelmingly other black residents who live in their communities.” In Chicago, for instance, in 2015, 2,460 African American people were shot, compared to 78 white people. In 2011 (the last year for which data was released by the Chicago police), 71 percent of those committing murder were black and 75 percent of murder victims were also black. Homicide became the number one cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 1 and 44. And, Mac Donald adds, “until the black crime rate comes down, police presence is going to be higher in black neighborhoods, increasing the chance that when police tactics go awry, they will have a black victim.” As Candace Owens advises, if you truly believe the policemen are racists and you don’t want to be shot by them, try to minimize the encounters by committing less crime.

It seems like the leftists who call for defunding the police either do not understand the possible outcomes of it, or they intentionally escalate the situation by attacking one of the core institutions of the society. It doesn’t appear to them that if you don’t particularly like the house you live in and decide to burn it, you won’t automatically get a mansion in its place – you’ll get the ashes. By defunding the police, you won’t get safety, you’ll get more crime. Pair it with a strict gun control in Democrat-run cities and states, promoted, in particular, by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and you get “Hello, anarchy!” And then, “Hello, communism!”

The proposed “redirection of funds” from the police budget to “social programs” is not going to work without the meaningful employment and economic stability that would turn an economically depressed population into a self-sufficient middle class. And this is exactly what started to evolve due to Trump’s policies. In three years, Trump had done more to solve the problem of the black vulnerability than the Democrats who have had nearly exclusive control over almost every major city in America for decades. We’ve burned trillions of tax dollars to fight the War on Poverty and trying to improve public education. The Democrats had instituted every policy they believe in with little to no opposition and failed. If they genuinely cared about the black lives, they would promote an economic growth while dropping the race-baiting narrative that vilifies more than half of the population while victimizing the rest and demonizing a force that protects both.

Photo credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped)

correction: Michael Brown was killed not murdered

Please follow Veronika Kyrylenko, Ph.D. on Twitter or LinkedIn.