The phrase “defund the police” quickly gained popularity, but the term isn’t a call to eliminate the police entirely – it is simply meant to draw attention to the outsized funds that police departments receive from state and local governments, often accounting for more than a third, and sometimes more than half, of an entire budget in normal times. In the middle of an unprecedented economic and health crisis, police departments are often the only government entity that aren’t seeing any budget cuts whatsoever.
In Los Angeles, for example, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s new budget for 2020-21 proposes allocating 54% of city funds to the LAPD. New York City’s policing budget is $5 billion, more than the city spends on agencies for health, homeless services, housing, and youth development combined. Chicago spends 39% of its resources on policing, and has proposed increases this year.
You don’t have to agree with all the protests to see the issue here. Consider, instead, this question: are we really getting what we pay for with these massive policing budgets? If states and local governments are going to sacrifice public services for their police, it makes sense to ensure that they’re getting the optimal value for their citizens.
There’s little to no evidence to suggest that more policing has a significant impact on crime. On the contrary, it simply increases violent altercations between people of color and the police. So what actually does reduce crime? What does make a difference is investment in education, healthcare, transit, and community development. These are the Cinderellas of public service. ( Patriotic Millionaires)