by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Many of the 12 cities that experienced record levels of violence in 2021 moved over the past two years to cut police funding, overhaul law enforcement policies, or put fewer people behind bars.
The sweeping changes that city leaders across America pursued came at a time of intense scrutiny of law enforcement after a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a black man, during an arrest attempt in May 2020.
But even some Democratic lawmakers have begun to rethink the reforms championed by activists as the number of homicides nationwide has climbed. The Biden White House, for example, has repeatedly attempted to distance its policies from the “defund the police” movement that some Democrats have come to view as harmful to their electoral prospects. …
Philadelphia broke its previous homicide record this year after surpassing the number of slayings the city recorded in 1990.
The wave of violence came after the city’s liberal district attorney, Larry Krasner, implemented liberal prosecutorial reforms that led to fewer criminals going to prison and for shorter periods of time. …
Columbus is one of two Ohio cities that broke records for homicides in 2021, notching 179 murders at the start of December.
It was the highest since just the previous year, when the city marked another record amid the civil unrest.
The slayings this year came as Columbus Police Department officials reported an exodus of officers that strained its law enforcement capabilities.
Officials pointed to tensions between the force and the community that worsened in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, prompting some officers to seek jobs elsewhere.
In July 2020, following the backlash against police, city leaders and the police department agreed to a policy that would limit the ability of police to arrest suspects for nonviolent offenses — even if the suspect had an outstanding arrest warrant.