Although the number of U.S. homicides increased 29.4% from 2019 to 2020, many cities are continuing to implement a variety of police reforms, including reducing budgets or “defunding” the police in different ways.
According to the FBI, there were an estimated 21,570 homicides in 2020, up from an estimated 16,669 homicides in 2019. That is a 29.4% increase in one year.
“For the first time in four years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased when compared with the previous year’s statistics,” stated the FBI in a press release.
For some specifics, there were approximately 500 murders in New York City in 2020, up from 319 in 2019. In Los Angeles, there were 381 murders in 2020, up from 258 in 2019. Also, in Chicago there reportedly were 771 murders in 2020, up from 500 in 2019.
Despite these numbers, state-level police reforms were signed in California and put into effect in Maryland last week, reported The Washington Examiner.
These reforms both restricted police officers’ abilities while in the field and added layers of bureaucracy to regulate misconduct allegations and incidents.
“Police groups in both states opposed the laws, arguing that the additional requirements would impede the ability of officers to operate in the field,” The Washington Examiner wrote.
Passing police reform legislation in 2019, California’s violent crime rates significantly increased in 2020; homicide rose 31% and there was an 8% increase in aggravated assault.
Clyde Boatwright, president of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police, told a local CBS station how police reforms are hurting recruitment.
“We don't have people warming up in the bullpen ready to come into the game," Boatwright said. "It does not exist now because this profession is so unattractive to our young people. This is an all-time low, and every police department is struggling to hire people."
Austin, Texas enacted a new policy last week that discourages citizens from calling 911 unless they’re in immediate danger. This policy came after a staffing problem in the local police departments and demands for reform by citizens, reported Fox News.
Also facing a department staffing issue, the Minneapolis Police Department is “short by more than 200” officers because of the initiative to defund the police, RNC Research tweeted.
“It’s getting worse, I mean, we’re losing cops daily,” said Minneapolis Police Department Union head Sherral Schmidt. “It’s not just Minneapolis, it’s everywhere.”
Homicide rates increased by 73% in Minneapolis between 2019 and 2020, according to city government data.
Regardless, Minneapolis residents are poised to vote in November to approve a ballot measure that would abolish the police department completely and replace it with a community-focused department of public safety, The Washington Examiner wrote.