by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democratic politicians at every level, from President-elect Joe Biden down to local city councilmen, reacted to recent incidents of police misconduct by hastily encouraging or even joining in calls to “defund the police.” But they rapidly realized they had made a grave mistake — that their spineless pandering to the woke mob might for once come at a steep political cost, not to mention a societal cost as well. …
… As of this writing, the true believers in the movement have indeed been defunding the police. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted recently, “Los Angeles has cut its police budget by $150 million. Seattle has cut $69 million. San Francisco has cut $60 million over the next two years. Denver has cut $50 million. All the cuts are between 10 and 20% of the cities’ police budgets.” Moreover, cities such as Houston, Oakland, and Portland, Maine, have barred their police from serving in certain roles (on school grounds, for example), and Atlanta’s mayor has even been making noises about closing the city jail.
The results are in, at least partially. According to preliminary data for 57 police agencies analyzed by AH Datalytics co-founder Jeff Asher, as of the third quarter, violent crime had barely changed year over year on a national basis. But when you isolate cities that ostentatiously disbanded or defunded their police departments, violent crime was up — particularly in Minneapolis (up 19% as of September), Denver (up 11% as of July 31), and Houston (up 17% as of Aug. 31).
These numbers are still incomplete, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation. But at the very least, crime problems are developing for jurisdictions that took the strongest and most public anti-police positions, and their leaders have chosen to tie their own hands in the face of a growing criminal threat to the innocent.