On May 25, George Floyd was arrested for purchasing cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 and killed by officers while being taken into custody. The brutal security footage of his death was rapidly shared across social media and news platforms, igniting widespread outrage. The following months were filled with riots and calls to “defund the police.”
As the year has come to an end, major United States cities are reporting a staggering increase in murder rates, likely due to the “defund police” movement and attacks on law enforcement.
One of the main cities that has seen an increase in homicides is Chicago. In 2020, the city recorded 769 murders, a figure drastically higher than that which was recorded in 2019—495. The year has proved to be historically deadly for Cook County, which encompasses Chicago and surrounding suburbs, recording 875 homicides, passing the previous most the violent year of 1994.
Since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014, many police forces have decreased their efforts in major cities. Although people may like the idea of decreasing the size of police forces, studies have shown that fewer cops on the streets lead to more violent crimes.
According to a study in 2005, it’s not more arrests that stop crime, it’s the presence of more police. When there is a larger group of beat cops present on the streets, crimes are less likely to occur in the first place. Still, many local government leaders are urging for decreases in the budget and staffing of police forces.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has moved to cutting police budgets and decreasing the number of cops, with a proposal to leave 614 vacant positions unfilled within the force. The city has also faced decreases in numbers due to high retirement rates. As of November, every district in Chicago besides one had lost at least 10% of its police force. Some of this decrease has been caused by workers being moved to different task forces, but a large portion is due to them leaving the field entirely. Since early this summer, cops have been retiring at more than double the average rate. Reasons for retirement are cited as few job benefits, physical violence, and the lack of appreciation.
Increases in violent crime is not only a trend in Chicago. The mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has faced backlash after a surge of murders within the city. In a 28 day period this summer, 106 people were shot, compared to just 40 in the same period of 2019. Although the state has not passed any measures defunding the police, city council members believe that police have responded to these calls for reform by reducing their efforts within the city.
Even with the loud calls to defund the police, most people within all racial groups would rather see an increase of policing in high crime areas than a decrease. In 2019, polling showed that at least 60% within each of the white, Hispanic, and black racial groups support increasing funding for police in order to hire more cops in high crime areas. Within the same study, it shows that the majority of all citizens, once again broken into racial groups, view their local police as favorable. African Americans, the group with the lowest percentage of support, still view their local cops as 58% favorable.
This knowledge makes it abundantly clear; if law enforcement is removed from the streets or not given the proper equipment and funds for their job, the homicide rate will continue to rise within the United States. Defunding police only encourages violence and will result in the loss of thousands of lives.
With recent events and support from polls, it’s clear that we do not need to be decreasing the number of police. Although criminal justice reform is needed, defunding the police is not the solution and will only lead to more violence.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.