Less than a year after the defund the police movement swept across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death, we're just beginning to see the effects. A new analysis of crime data by the Washington Times finds the homicide rate rose by 28% in 20 major cities across the U.S. during the first quarter of this year...while in the nine cities that made the largest cuts to police budgets, the homicide rate was up nearly 68% over last year. The biggest example of this phenomenon in Texas is Austin, where the city cut $20 million from its police budget only to see murders up 35% so far this year compared to last. Cities like Portland and Minneapolis have even restored some police funding after seeing spikes in crime.
The impacts of the defund the police movement are both tangible and intangible, according to Randy Petersen, a former police officer and senior researcher for the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "First, you're going to have a lack of proactive policing, you're not going to have officers going out there looking to prevent crimes and catch criminals," he tells KTRH. "They'll respond to calls--that's their job--they'll still do that...but to actually stick their neck out with the possibility of being the next viral video that burns their city down, they're not going to do that."
While the chilling effects of the anti-police movement can already be seen, the actual budget cuts won't be felt until further down the road. "Departments will cut their training budgets, because that's one of the few discretionary areas that departments even have," says Petersen. "So in the future we're going to have poorly trained officers, and expect them to somehow make better use of force decisions...it doesn't even make sense."
"To think that by cutting training or defunding, that we're somehow going to improve policing, that makes no sense to anyone," he continues. "You can't look at that with any kind of intellectual honesty and think that's going to help."