With spiking crime rates, slow 911 response times and police officers leaving the force in droves, Minneapolis’ defund-the-police movement has crashed into reality.
Last week, Minneapolis said it will spend $6.4 million to hire dozens of police officers after having 200 fewer police officers available to work than in recent years, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The police force began last year with 817 officers on the payroll, however, now have only 638 in their ranks in the wake of George Floyd’s death and resulting protests.
Some officers resigned or retired while others remain on extended leave.
Last summer, the Minneapolis City Council took several steps toward defunding the city’s police department, including approving an amendment to remove $1 million from the police department and divert it toward the health department to hire “violence interrupters” - essentially social-workers with the mission of deescalating violent situations.
In December, the council then voted to reallocate about $8 million from the police budget to other city services. At the time, Jeremiah Ellison, a Minneapolis city councilman who had favored more aggressive efforts to defund the police, told the New York Times it was an “incredible investment.”
“I think what we’re able to do with that $8 million is going to do a lot for public safety in our city,” Ellison told the Times.
But that hasn’t been the case.
Minneapolis has seen an uptick in crimes that include daylight carjackings, robberies, assaults, shootings and street racing. Early 2021 crime statistics show a 250% increase in gunshot victims compared to the same period one-year-ago. Rape is up 22% and robbery is up 59% compared to last year.
The defund the police movement took hold of the country last year, with Black Lives Matter activists demanding police reforms. According to Bloomberg News, 50 of the U.S.’s largest cities reduced their 2021 police budgets by 5.2% in aggregate.
The results of defunding the police were predictable. Yet, progressives told Bloomberg News there is “more momentum than ever before behind reform and alternative models for policing.”
Defunding the police didn’t go well in Minneapolis – and it won’t go well for any other city in the U.S. doing the same. The rhetoric will eventually crash into reality. It’s just a matter of time.
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