U.S. cities besieged by crime are restoring money to police budgets after a year of budget reductions.
A recent FBI report documents the dramatic rise in crime, particularly violent crime in the United States in 2020. Preliminary data from 2021 indicates that the trend has continued this year.
The rise in crime has prompted cities across the nation to reverse course and refund the police, The Daily Wire reports. Polling data indicates most Americans were and are against defunding the police.
New York City increased its police budget by $200 million. The Los Angeles police department received a 3 percent hike in funding. Oakland added more police academies than previously budgeted. Burlington, Vermont approved bonuses for police officers.
Texas cities Austin and Dallas significantly increased their police budgets as well, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Dallas has increased its funding for law enforcement and raised the number of police officers on the street.
Dallas and other cities are reversing course not only on budgeting but also on processes. Many are returning to a recently discarded technique known as hot-spot policing, in which resources are focused on high-crime locations.
“Hot-spot policing is a polarizing subject, particularly in communities of color,” said Dallas Chief Eddie Garcia. “Nothing was working. We’re on to something that seems to be working.”
Austin learned about the dangers of defunding the police the hard way, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Starting this month, Austin police have asked the public to refrain from calling 911 unless the situation is immediate and dire. The police recommend victims and witnesses file an online report instead of calling for an officer. This is being done in response to a staffing shortage.
The Austin city council slashed $31.5 million from the police budget last year. The council also cancelled cadet classes and new hire plans. Crime increased as fewer police officers were available to protect the city’s growing population.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has launched a “Refund the Police” initiative, Fox 5 News reports. Hogan’s plan is to provide more money to state and local police departments, including money for hiring bonuses and salary increases.
The two-term Republican governor is getting pushback from Democrats against his movement for police support. Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) calls the plan “divisive” and says the key to public safety is trust between police and the community they serve.
Maryland state senator Will Smith (D-Montgomery County) says public safety is not a matter of police versus the public.
“We cannot view the issue of public safety through a binary sense,” Smith said in a tweet. “Increasing accountability and transparency can be done along with investing in public safety but noting while people can be grateful for law enforcement, it’s possible to also be weary from the pain of police brutality.”
President Joe Biden has quickly built a reputation for not supporting law enforcement. His relationship with the law enforcement community has deteriorated further since he took office, the Washington Times reports.
Rank-and-file cops say they are “disgusted” by the lack of support from the Biden administration.
“It’s been worse than I thought, especially with what I know about Biden,” Paul DiGiacomo, president of the New York City Detectives’ Endowment Association, told the Washington Times.
Despite opposition by Democrats from Biden on down, support for law enforcement is increasing, starting at the grassroots levels of the communities they serve. Some elected officials, acknowledging crime waves, are also now lining up to back the blue.
“A year after protestors were chanting ‘Defund the Police,’ many departments are seeing their funding restored and budgets increased,” writes Josh Mann for The Lion. “This comes after months of rising crime and the departure of large numbers of officers from the force altogether. Departments have also had trouble recruiting, only exacerbating the problems.”
“It’s easy to defund and demoralize a police department but harder to rebuild one,” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board writes. “The Austin Police Department has faced some public anger for announcing the emergency-response limitations, but it deserves credit for being honest with the public about the consequences of progressive policy.”
Politicians’ rush to placate violent radicals has caused untold harm to their constituents, says retired SWAT officer Steve Rodriguez.
“The people who voted to defund the police and took other actions against the government were acting out like two-year-olds throwing a temper tantrum,” said Steve Rodriguez. “Once the ‘adults’ gave in to the two-year-olds, everyone realized it’s not generally a good idea to let immature people make important decisions.
“What remains are untold [numbers of] damaged, broken lives and businesses, some of whom will never recover,” Rodriguez said. “The news reports the numbers of people murdered, but vastly under-reports on the families destroyed.”