We would all like to believe crime is not a problem or just happens – elsewhere. The truth is, as Democrat-led efforts to defund and delegitimize police continue to mature, homicides are making a comeback.
The link is clear; the need to up-fund police is just as clear.
While experts say four in ten crimes do not get reported, what is reported should make us pause. Throughout 2020, Democrat leaders at all levels pushed defunding the police, which in turn reduced recruiting and retention, accelerated retirements, demoralized entire forces.
In response, public insecurity grew, especially in minority communities. Legal gun ownership by minorities, women, and in cities with declining police presence rose. But that is not all.
As Democrat leaders have denigrated law enforcement, reduced respect and public support for police, reduced operating budgets, and left those taking risks on their own, crime has risen.
Most notably, homicides have risen – and they show no sign of pulling back. The FBI reported a shocking uptick of 15 percent in homicides nationwide in 2020. Some cities were hit especially hard, with more than 50 averaging a 36 percent jump in homicides. Even liberal news outlets could not look away, although few drew the link to defunding efforts. See, e.g., Massive 1-Year Rise In Homicide Rates Collided With The Pandemic In 2020.
Then, in 2021, homicides jumped again – by 16 percent across 29 major cities, many minor cities. Aggravated assaults jumped nine percent, even as carjackings, personal and property crime rose.
By mid-summer, murders in Los Angeles were up 36 percent, Portland 82 percent, Minneapolis 72 percent. Data collected by the Major Cities Chiefs Association showed spikes in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Pittsburgh, cities as small as Rochester.
At the same time, other crimes are climbing the backstairs, including drug trafficking, which in 2020 produced a shocking 93,000 overdose deaths, an unprecedented 30 percent jump over 2019.
While the Washington Post rather disingenuously wrote an article entitled, “We Don’t know Why Crime is Up…,” others are less mystified. Virtually every city facing high homicide rates – in tandem with high drug trafficking – is Democrat-led and models anti-police sentiment. See, The ten most dangerous cities in the U.S. are all run by Democrats.; Essential Politics: Democrats scramble to combat rising homicide rates in American cities; We don’t know why violent crime is up. But we know there’s more than one cause..
Notably, cities like Portland, Oregon, have had the most homicides in 25 years, as of August. Seattle recorded a deadly 125 percent increase in homicides year to date in June. DC is on a record-setting pace for homicides in 2021, along with carjacking’s – which are out of control. See, e.g., Portland Records Most Homicides in More Than 25 Years; D.C. crosses 100 homicides in 2021, setting record pace; https://mynorthwest.com/3008779/rantz-seattle-deadliest-june-crime/.
So, on the one hand, these numbers are startling, worrying, in a word – arresting. On the other, a deeper look shows what is wrong, what is worth closer attention, and how to extract ourselves.
While many factors ultimately contribute to such a spike, a leading cause is failed appreciation for the role law enforcement plays in our lives and across the country. Police not only respond to crime, but they deter it. They not only represent the power of enforcement but of example.
Certainly, a raft of factors can be blamed for rising homicides – including politicians who fan racial violence, reduced border law enforcement, drug legalization and internecine drug trafficking battles, gang warfare, COVID isolation, and over-emotional public discourse.
But one factor stands out – and that one is worth reversing. Democrat-led efforts to defund and delegitimize the police have been uniquely damaging. More than 20 major cities defunded police in response to Democrat party pitches to do so – and are paying a terrible price. See, e.g., These US Cities Defunded Police: ‘We’re Transferring Money to the Community’; WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CITIES DEFUND POLICE DEPARTMENTS.
Other major and minor metropolitan areas pay the price vicariously as recruiting falls and retirements rise. See, e.g., List of Cities Defunding the Police | Surge in Crime; Departures of Police Officers Accelerated During a Year of Protests; In Chicago, other cities, more cops are calling it quits, retiring amid anti-police backlash.
Is there any good news? Yes. The good news is, many Americans are waking up – they are pressing their local leaders to re-fund or up-fund police, showing support for officers again, pushing a Democrat-led Congress to stop making the nation less secure, forcing reversals. Moreover, while Democrats still push the idea, only one in five Americans agree. See, e.g., Cities Reverse Defunding the Police Amid Rising Crime; Fewer than 1 in 5 support ‘defund the police’ movement, USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds.
Net-net, the spike in homicides nationally is worrisome, but the reality is that law-abiding Americans know why this is happening, and they are not taking the news lying down. They are standing up for security, police, and a safer future. Support for law enforcement is vital. Better to remember that now than not at all. As with other errors, Americans work to set this right.
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