The topic of police defunding is an ongoing debate in the US community. The revelations of police brutality have deteriorated public perception of the law enforcing institution, especially after the recent event of George Floyd’s death, resulting in accusations on the grounds of systematic racism. There are differing viewpoints on the possible solutions to the problem regardless of which the necessity for adjustments to the system is undeniable. Possible solutions include defunding or abolition of the policing institution, decreasing the funding, and allocating the asset to other community-based groups, as well as reforming and redefining the police position in society. Nevertheless, the idea of defunding or abolition of police as the primary task force that enacts law enforcing strategies and reallocation of funding represents the most severe action with unpromising potential.
Proponents of police defunding emphasize various statistical issues to advocate their ideas. The main issue that is being raised is the low effectiveness of the police in the prosecution of criminal activities. Every year, “70% of robberies, 66% of rapes, 47% of aggravated assaults, and 38% of murders go unsolved each year” (Henderson and Yisrael). The argument follows that it is necessary to replace the agency with a more qualified and specialized task force that would resolve ongoing issues more effectively. In essence, these arguments point to a more beneficial allocation of resources spent on police.
The research demonstrated that “90% of the people that were stopped in the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk program” were not participating in criminal activity (Henderson and Yisrael). The persons who were stopped were overwhelmingly Black and Latino, and physical force was utilized half of the time. This predisposition towards structural racism instigates the questionable reality of policing activities. Thus, enhancing the belief in the oppressive nature of the institution and accusations of its harmful nature.
Moreover, the agency is not focused purely on criminal activities as “9 out of 10 calls for service are for nonviolent encounters” (Ray). Officers deal with mental health crises by enforcing traffic regulations, monitoring public school halls, and working with colleges and universities on contracts. Police respond to 911 noise complaints in many rural communities. The argument follows that majority of policing functions could be maintained by other professionals such as social workers.
Opponents of the police defunding argue that such action would be ineffective and result in the prosperity of various negative effects. It is essential to note that defunding will not be an effective resolution to the problem of crime and will add little value to the community. Policing rarely accounts for a significant amount of the municipal budget (Merrefield). State and municipal governments have spent around 4% of their yearly budgets on policing since the 1970s, and overall crime rates have drastically decreased since the 1990s (Merrefield). Furthermore, a major part of the police budget is used to reward officers and other workers.
It is undeniable that police enact a wide range of functions necessary for the community. However, it does not mean that police should be abolished. It is necessary to focus on other agencies as “…de-escalation, and adopting responder models for mental health calls” will reduce negative results associated with law enforcement risks (Lum et al., p. 16-17). Therefore, it is essential to develop community institutions associated with these necessities but not to deprive it of the existing opportunity which works. Currently, the situation demonstrates that it would require a large and inaccessible fund to reform the current approach to the dissolution of daily problems.
New Evidence Supporting the Claim
Police personnel guarantee that the impoverished are safeguarded (Fernandez). Poor individuals will be disproportionately harmed if police officers are underfunded. Rich people may afford to engage private security to protect their houses, businesses, and other personal belongings. Impoverished households rely on the government for personal security. Dismantling the agency will decrease the quality of life of such people forcing them to rely on individual ability to protect themselves. Delays in police response inside communities will increase crime and terror, as well as leave victims of crimes defenseless and cause chaos.
Defunding would not alleviate the problem of rising crime rates in the United States (Merrefield). As a result, politicians who promote the dissolvement of police organizations require a peaceful way to ensure that, without the functioning police department, American residents’ safety would be assured. However, global practice demonstrates that no country was able to function without this institution properly. It might encourage the establishment and prosperity of organized crime in American society.
Police departments remain the primary source of security and justice globally. Their presence alone reduces the crime rates within the US community. Moreover, history demonstrates that overall, the instances of crime are demonstrating a diminishing trend, especially since the 1990s. Therefore, rather than defunding the existing agency, which has proven its effectiveness through time, it is necessary to reform and education officers to prosecute the problems that triggered the idea of defunding. In addition, it is possible to advocate the improvement of other community services to reduce the existing burden of law enforcement. The reason is that majority of calls stem from the inadequacy of other agencies to prevent local, household, individual issues related to mental health and daily disputes.
Fernandez , Paige. “Defunding the Police Will Actually Make Us Safer.” American Civil Liberties Union, Web.
Henderson, Howard, and Ben Yisrael. “7 Myths about ‘Defunding the Police’ Debunked.” Brookings, Brookings, 2021, Web.
Lum, Cynthia, et al. “Can We Really Defund the Police? A Nine-Agency Study of Police Response to Calls for Service.” Police Quarterly, 2021.
Merrefield, Clark. “’Defund the Police’: What It Means and What the Research Says on Whether More Police Presence Reduces Crime.” Generocity Philly, Web.
Neuman, Scott. “Police Viewed Less Favorably, but Few Want to ‘Defund’ Them, Survey Finds.” NPR, NPR, 2020, Web.
ProCon.org. “Defund the Police – Top 3 Pros and Cons.” 2021, Web.
Ray, Rashawn. “What Does ‘Defund the Police’ Mean and Does It Have Merit?” Brookings, Brookings, 2021, Web.