by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Last year, in the city of St. Louis, we saw a 50-year high for murders: 262 people were murdered in the city. The vast majority, more than 90%, of those who were murdered were black. Seventeen children under the age of 17 were killed. This year, through the end of April, St. Louis has seen 69 homicides, putting the city on track to shatter last year’s record-setting numbers.
If the city of St. Louis were a country, we would have the highest homicide rate per capita of any other country in the world. A review of government homicide data reveals that the city of St. Louis has a higher murder rate than Honduras, El Salvador, South Africa, Venezuela, and Mexico. In fact, homicides in the city of St. Louis are 17 times greater per capita than those of the United States as a whole.
Where are the outrage and the calls for justice for those victims and their families? After all, they weren’t just statistics, numbers on a crime dashboard; they were real human beings with families, friends, and loved ones.
Instead of outrage for the forgotten victims of violence, we hear repeated calls to defund the police, a move that would undoubtedly embolden the dangerous criminal element that plagues our cities. Is this really the solution? To put fewer brave men and women on our streets to protect our lives and our property? To decrease the number of law enforcement who can investigate and help prosecute those who have cut short the lives of our fellow human beings? To expend human lives on an experiment that may not work?
Defunding the police may sound good in a campaign ad and be popular among criminals hoping to take advantage of the lessened police presence, but it will have real, grave consequences.