Ever since the debate over George Floyd’s death has swept across the country, countless Americans in cities all over the nation have been calling to defund their local police department. Those that support this movement believe it to be a necessary effort to reduce the occurrence of police brutality in the future. One of the first cities to act was the home of George Floyd himself; Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city felt a more personal motivation to make this decision than perhaps other cities, seeing as the cataclysmic event that sparked the largest wave of protests and outrage in decades took place in their back yard.
After a unanimous vote, the city council decided to cut roughly $8 million from the police department’s budget. Mayor Jacob Frey is a strong advocate for this decision, as he, too believes that it was a step in the right direction for the city to end police brutality. But, this drastic change in motion has hit the metropolis hard with crime rates now soaring to an all time high. More than 160 officers have left their station as a result of the city’s decision. President Bob Kroll of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis told Fox News, “The City Council is decimating the police department. The number of working officers is the lowest; it’s been in 50 years. Murders, shootings, and other violent crimes are approaching record levels. Our officers are severely overworked, understaffed, and cannot keep the public safe with these cuts.” So, how has this directly affected the crime rates in the city? Let’s look at recent statistics:
Minneapolis has had a total of 532 gunshot victims this year. While that number may seem low at first glance, it is still surprisingly more than twice as many as last year. Occurrences of grand theft auto have also been on the rise; to be specific, more than 331 percent in comparison to last year. Violent crimes (such as assault, homicide, and manslaughter to name a few) are no consideration, with 5,100 documented occurrences so far in comparison to the 4,000 from last year. The shortage of police officers has shown a direct reflection in the city’s crime rates. However, members of the city council are holding steadfast their belief that they made the right decision. “Tonight, the city council passed a budget that represents a compromise, and also a big step forward into a more compassionate and effective public safety future,” said city council member Steve Fletcher. Hopefully, we’ll see this trend in increasing crime rates come to a steady halt, and see the decades of police brutality to ethnic minorities be rendered obsolete. Unfortunately, only time will tell, and it may get worse before it gets better.