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How Police Budget Cuts Affect US Urban Crime

According to data analyzed by the publication Fox News, cities that cut funding for their police departments last year due to gunfire involving police officers have seen a spike in crime over the past year.

Photo: Shutterstock

Los Angeles (California), Minneapolis (Minnesota), New York (New York), Portland (Oregon) and Austin (Texas) have transferred funds from police departments to social services programs. These cuts have resulted in some departments firing officers, canceling recruitment lessons, or canceling hires.

As police departments had to make do with cut budgets and less support, some major cities have occasionally seen spikes in homicide and other violent crime.

Minneapolis

Violent crime rates skyrocketed in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in May.

Statistics show that from December 11, 2020 to March 28, 2021, the number of murders in the city increased by 46% (to 19), compared with 13 recorded in the same period last year.

Since the initial budget cut in July 2020, there have been 49% more murders - that is, from July 22, 2020 to March 28, 2021, there were 58 of them instead of the previous 39.

The total number of violent crimes in Minneapolis during the same period also increased compared to last year, in particular by 22%: from 3025 to 3.

On the subject: Minneapolis government to pay $ 27 million to family of African American killed by police

In December, Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a budget that transferred about $ 8 million from the police department to violence prevention and other programs. The cuts did not affect staffing targets for jury officers after Mayor Jacob Frey threatened to veto the budget if the council limited police staff as it had originally planned.

The plan diverted nearly $ 8 million from the police budget to mental health teams, violence prevention programs and other initiatives.

And a little earlier, in July, he sent $ 1,1 million from the department's $ 193 million budget to the Office of Violence Prevention to implement an information program.

In June, most Minneapolis city councilors said they supported the abolition of the police department.

Portland

In Portland, homicide rates have more than tripled from last year.

Police statistics for July 2020, when the police budget was cut, and last February (this is the most recent data available) show that the homicide rate rose sharply by 270,6% over the same period last year.

According to police, from July 2020 to February 2021, 63 murders were recorded, while from July 2019 to February 2020, there were only 17 crimes.

In the first two months of 2021 alone, according to statistics from the local police department, 17 murders have already been recorded in Portland, which is 1600% more than in the first two months a year earlier.

Based on the data received, there were fewer reported attacks during the same period compared to the previous year. Statistics show that from July 2020 to February 2021, 5767 attacks were recorded, which is 6,4% less than the 6159 attacks recorded from July 2019 to February 2020.

I must say that last year was the deadliest in the city in more than a quarter of a century.

In mid-June, city councilors voted to cut the police budget by nearly $ 16 million in response to public fears that police officers could use force and racial injustice with impunity.

The money went to social service programs. This did not meet the demands of some protesters to cut $ 50 million for the police.

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler recently requested $ 2 million in one-time funding for police, other agencies and outreach programs to try to stop rampant gun violence in the city.

As of March 8, there were 278 shootings in the Portland area, 58 people were injured as a result of gunfire, and 17 were killed.

New York

According to the crime statistics of New York, the number of registered murders here from the beginning of the year to March 21 increased by 11,8%, that is, there were 76 of them instead of 68 in 2020.

In 2021, the number of shootings increased by 40,1% and, as of March 21, there were already 220 cases of shooting, while in the same period last year - 157. Meanwhile, according to police, the number of shooting victims during this period jumped by 39% - from 177 in 2020 to 246 in 2021.

In July, New York City Council voted to take $ 1 billion out of the NYPD budget and instead direct the money to education and social services this year.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Police Department reported that the number of homicides increased by 2020% in 38.

As of March 13, according to statistics, the number of murders increased by 28,3%: this year there were 77 of them, compared with 60 recorded murders during the same time in 2020. The number of victims of the shooting has almost doubled: from 157 registered before March 13, 2020, to 303 this year.

Statistics show that the number of aggravated attacks during this time also increased - by 8,4%: from 3 to 132.

Significant reductions in rape and robbery offset these surges. Records show that the total violent crime rate as of March 13 was down 1,4% year over year.

On the subject: Protection or surveillance: US police can access home video surveillance

In July, city leaders voted to cut the Los Angeles Police Department's budget by $ 150 million, cutting police numbers to levels not seen in more than a decade.

About two-thirds of the funds allocated for police overtime were instead used to provide services and programs for racial communities, including a summer jobs program for youth. The city council vote will reduce the number of officers from 9 as of June 988 to 2020 by the summer of 9, while abandoning the intention to recruit 757 officers announced by political leaders and achieved in 2021 alone.

Austin

According to statistics, as of February 2021, the latest data available showed that there were 11 murders in Austin from the beginning of the year to date, up from 10 recorded at the same time last year. Meanwhile, reports of aggravated assaults increased by 26%, from 415 reported since early 2020 to 524 so far this year.

Overall, the number of reported non-serious crimes decreased by 4% this year in February compared to the same period in 2020.

In August, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to cut about one-third of the city's $ 434 million police budget, or just over $ 150 million. The funds were earmarked for social services redirection in the 2021 budget that began October 1, 2020.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said during a press conference that budget cuts and plans to rethink the city's police force will lead to changes unlike anything he has seen in his 30 years at the police department.

According to Manley, the layoffs have eliminated about 150 open positions, leaving headcounts at 2015 levels.

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