The new rallying cry for protestors and rioters has become “Defund the Police!” with no real explanation of how the function of law enforcement will be handled, except for vague “community-based alternatives.” Interestingly, some cities that have already chosen to cut police numbers are quickly finding the results not so good for ordinary citizens.
A perfect example is New York City, where the police commissioner recently eliminated the NYPD’s plainclothes anti-crime unit, with those 600 officers being reassigned to “other positions.” Commissioner Dermot Shea’s recent decision was praised by NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who called the announcement of the change “very powerful.”
While many might disagree that the decision was “powerful,” there’s little doubt that it has been quite impactful. In just a week since the NYPD eliminated the special unit, shootings have more than doubled over the same week last year.
During the week since the unit was disbanded, there were 28 shooting incidents with 38 victims reported, compared to a total of 12 shootings for the entire week at the same time last year, according to the New York Post. In fact, through Father’s Day, there had already been more shootings than for the entire month of June last year.
De Blasio, however, isn’t about to admit defeat.
“So, this is a permanent change,” de Blasio said. “The personnel will be using new and different ways to fight crime more effectively and in a way that creates a better relationship with the community, and that’s the way forward for this city and for the NYPD.”
Some involved in the situation are a little more realistic. As one law enforcement official told the Post, “This is what the politicians wanted—no bail, nobody in Rikers, cops not arresting anyone. All those things equal people walking around on the street with guns, shooting each other.”
Note that New York City isn’t the only city feeling the effect of reduced policing. In Minneapolis, where a rogue officer killed George Floyd, which kicked off the weeks of protest and rioting, the city council has enough votes to defund the police department with no chance of a mayoral veto. With far fewer police on the streets and those still patrolling leery of making contact with criminals because of the current anti-police sentiment, shootings are becoming more common there also.
According to a Minneapolis police spokesman, 10 people were shot in the city after midnight on Sunday morning, and reports indicated up to 100 people brawling in the 2900 block of Hennepin using various weapons. And, a Star Tribune report indicated that windows at a shoe store and theater had been shot out, along with the 10 individuals who had been shot.
One can only hope that local politicians currently considering “defunding police” are keeping an eye on such situations and will realize that making well-researched, focused changed in enforcement techniques without throwing out all the good cops with the few bad ones is a better solution to the problems faced by many cities in these unsettling times.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.