#DefundThePolice might not poll well with ordinary Americans, but emboldened murderers are taking full advantage of demoralized police, killing in numbers some cities haven’t seen in years.
Denver might be leading the pack, with murders jumping nearly 50% in the first six months of 2020, compared to the same time period the previous year.
Also seeing major increases are offenses we might place under the banner of “riot-related crimes” including aggravated assault and arson.
Denver’s Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock delivered his annual State of the City address on Monday and was candid about the city’s increasing lawlessness, admitting that “crime is a growing risk.” He called the trend “unacceptable” and “troubling,” and said, “not just in Denver, but nationwide.”
Hancock has been opposed to #DefundThePolice, stating in his address that he would not defund “the very programs and initiatives that make Denver an innovator in reform.”
The numbers elsewhere bear out Hancock’s concerns for the nation as a whole.
At the start of July, Chicago officials said that “shootings and murders rose significantly in June compared to the same month last year.” While the overall crime rate is down, 329 people had been killed in Chicago in the first half of the year, “an increase of about 34% from the 246 homicides during the same period last year.” Or as NBC Chicago dryly noted, “The city has already seen more than 300 homicides this year, blowing past the benchmark that Supt. David Brown challenged the police department to stay under in April.”
Far from jumping on the #DefundThePolice bandwagon — at least so far — Chicago police rolled out two new “gun violence” units in June. Even so, the radical increase in murders there has Mayor Lori Lightfoot complained on Sunday that her city is “inundated with guns” from “states that have virtually no gun control.”
Out-of-state guns don’t commit murder, Madam Mayor. In-Chicago killers do.
Murders and shootings in Bill de Blasio’s New York City are pretty much out of control following a quarter-century of declines starting with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration in 1994.
The NYPD reported for June, the most recent full month for which figures are available:
For the month of June 2020, the number of people victimized by gun violence and murder in New York City spiked significantly, when compared to the same period in 2019. Between June 1 and June 30, there was a 130% increase in the number of shooting incidents across the city (205 v. 89) as the number of shootings rose in every borough of New York. The number of people murdered citywide increased to 39 v. 30, (+ 30%) for the month, while the number of burglaries increased to 1,783 v. 817 (+118%) and the number of auto thefts increased to 696 v. 462 (+51%) citywide.
De Blasio initially resisted the #DefundThePolice movement but caved earlier this month. Calling it “a transformative moment,” de Blasio has committed in principle to slashing a billion of dollars out of the NYPD budget, a 15% cut. The money won’t go to robbed or murdered taxpayers, but to social services and “youth” groups often pushing for even more cuts.
On the other side of the country, Los Angeles reported a “14% increase in homicides compared to last year.”
Minneapolis — where George Floyd was killed by police — is arguably home to the entire #DefundThePolice movement, and the City Council there has already voted (in violation of the city charter) to eliminate the police department entirely.
Minneapolis murders were already up 60% over the same period in 2019 before Floyd’s killing, so it might seem unimaginable that the rate has anywhere to go but down.
Nevertheless, Paul Cassel concluded for Reason earlier this month that “as policing activities that prevent gun violence are now declining in Minneapolis, crime victims in the city may suffer the same tragic consequences” as Chicago residents have since 2016.
Heather Mac Donald noted for City Journal in early July:
Milwaukee’s homicides have increased 132 percent. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen it like this,” a Milwaukee police inspector told the Police Executive Research Forum, referring to the violence and the low officer morale. Shootings are spiking in Indianapolis. Other cities will show similar increases once their crime data are published.
Gallop asked Americans about their support for #DefundThePolice last week and found that “just 15 percent of Americans support getting rid of the police.”
We’re just a few days away from seeing July’s murder statistics, and I’d wager that the numbers won’t do #DefundThePolice any good — and certainly none for their victims.