Thomas Gallatin / Apr. 6, 2021

Homicide Spike Tied to Democrats Defunding Police

It turns out undermining police in big cities has deadly consequences for Americans.

We’re three months into 2021 and there’s ample evidence that defunding the police has only resulted in a higher rate of violent crime and homicides. Across the nation, 20 major metropolitan areas collectively have seen a 28% jump in homicides from this time last year. Of these cities, nine followed the Left’s social justice anti-police narrative and significantly cut their law enforcement budgets, producing the sadly predictable result: spiking homicide rates.

The city with the highest jump in homicides from this period last year was Portland, Oregon, which has witnessed a whopping 1,900% increase in killings over the first three months of 2021. The raw numbers aren’t huge — one murder as of April in 2020 compared to 20 homicides this April — but the change is drastic. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Portland cut $16 million (7%) of its police budget and has witnessed 66 homicides since. Over that same time span in 2019, Portland had 17 homicides.

Austin, Texas, which cut its policing budget by $20 million (23%), has seen 19 homicides this year, a 35% jump from last year.

Philadelphia cut $33 million (5%) of its policing budget only to see homicides increase by 25% to 120.

Similarly, Minneapolis cut $9 million (5%) of funding for its law enforcement and saw 19 homicides, a surge of 46%.

Los Angeles eliminated $150 million (2%) from its police budget only to have LA County officials unanimously vote last week to add $36 million in police funding following 77 homicides this year, a 28% rise over this time last year.

That these homicide rates have jumped is as predictable as rain falling from storm clouds. Randy Peterson, a former police officer and senior researcher at the Center for Effective Justice, observes, “When you give up on the idea that the police are going to hold people accountable, it is not surprising that there will be more violence.”

One of the biggest casualties of the “defund the police” movement has been departments cutting back on proactive policing, which has proven effective in dissuading violence before it starts. Temple University criminology professor Jerry Ratcliffe notes, “Defunding is not taking place in huge levels, but pedestrian and traffic stops are down significantly. There are more opportunities for crime because there is less deterrence.”

The Left has sought to blame the spiking homicide rates on everything from the coronavirus pandemic to gun sales, but as far as COVID is concerned, Ratcliffe points out that other countries such as Italy, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have actually witnessed a decrease in homicides and violent crimes since the pandemic hit.

The mere existence of laws does not a lawful people make. Rather, the enforcement of those laws for a moral people does. Without police, the criminally minded have little to fear. Or, as the adage says, when the cat’s away the mice will play.

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