I always thought that defunding the police is a bad idea for one simple and obvious reason: Less police leads to more crime.
Then I found out that Leftists believe there’s a lot of police brutality against minorities due to systemic racism built into the institutions of law enforcement. They want to defund the police so that the money can be better spent on programs to help poorer communities which would prevent crime in the first place and alternative methods of policing.
In other words, defunding the police is actually a bad idea for three reasons:
1. We Shouldn’t Ruin Something That’s Working So Well
Yes, that’s right, there’s no systemic racism in the institutions of law enforcement and there’s no police brutality. And as this is something relatively unique when considering human history, any defunding would be a very bad idea indeed.
Now before you get all worked up / offended / triggered / all the above, and claim I’m a racist / bigot / xenophobe / all the above, please understand the following:
I’m not saying that there’s no systemic racism or police brutality in the institutions of law enforcement. I’m saying that there’s no systemic racism or police brutality in the institutions of law enforcement and that as one of the few societies to have achieved this we should be very proud of our success.
Ok, now you can get all worked up.
The Statistics Say There’s No Police Brutality
Now I know that there are a handful of high profile, blown-out-of-proportion, examples of police brutality, that are repeatedly analyzed from multiple angles on every news program for months while we wait ages for another one to occur, but they just prove my point.
If you didn’t understand that last paragraph, don’t worry. It just means you’re morally superior to me. And if you don’t understand this paragraph, don’t worry either. It also means you’re morally superior to me.
Let’s look at some statistics:
- In the United States, there are in total, about 700,000 police officers.
- The number of people shot to death by the police in the US is about 1000 a year.
|Number of People Killed by the Police|
Ignoring whether or not these deaths are justified, these two facts prove that there’s no police brutality.
If there are 700,000 police officers, how many interactions do each of them have a day with criminals? One, two, three? How many interactions do each of them have with violent criminals? Let’s lowball all of this and suggest that only a third of the police come into contact with any criminals at all and then only once a month with violent criminals.
Doing the math:
700,000 ÷ 3 = 233,333
A third of the police
1 × 12 = 12
No. of interactions b/w one officer and violent criminals a year
233,333 × 12 = 2,799,996
Total no. of interactions b/w police and violent criminals a year
In other words, there are almost three million interactions between police and violent criminals a year. Three million interactions between law enforcement and the worst elements of society where the former is expected to protect us from the unpleasant actions of the latter.
And only 1000 people killed by the police! What could be a better example of the absence of police brutality?
Okay, a police force that kills only 500 people a year, or zero but you get the point. No one’s claiming the police are perfect and that nothing should be done to improve things, but this does prove the situation to be the exact opposite of what the Left claim it is.
And no police brutality means defunding them would be a very bad idea.
The Statistics Say the Police Aren’t Systemically Racist
Now some may argue that I’ve missed the point. Because proportionally speaking, more black people are killed by the police than white people.
Meaning, although numbers wise, far more white people are killed by the police than black –
– when you take into account the percentage both races make of the total US population, more black people and fewer white people are killed than one would expect.
Since white people comprise 72% of the US population and black people 13.4%, white people should be 72% of people killed by the police and black people 13.4%, and the numbers should be more like this:
So although 1000 deaths is not that many in context, the huge discrepancy where more black people are killed than expected and less white people are killed than expected, proves the existence of systemic racism in law enforcement!
But this is an upside down and inside out way of looking at things.
Because when deciding whether or not the police are racist, the relative number of black and white people in the US as a whole is irrelevant. Since the job of the police is to deal with people who commit crimes it’s the makeup of that population which is important.
And let’s see what the statistics say about that.
- Black people comprise over 50% of people arrested for murder
- Black people commit approximately the same number of murders as white people
Since the number of black and white people in the population of people who commit violent crimes is the same, it’s not surprising at all that more black people are killed than you may have otherwise expected.
What is surprising is that so many more white people are killed by the police when the numbers should be closer to being the same.
It’s almost as if the police are being extra careful not to kill black criminals for fear of Leftists getting all worked up / offended / triggered / all the above, and claiming the police are racists / bigots / xenophobes / all the above.
In any event, the police are clearly not racist. And defunding a police force that’s anything but brutal or racist is a very bad idea.
2. Reallocating the Police Budget Won’t Prevent Crime
Defunding the police and reallocating the money for programs to help poorer communities won’t prevent crime, which is why it’s a bad idea.
By now you’re probably frothing at the mouth and apoplectic with rage.
And all because despite what I wrote, you probably read:
“…it’s a bad idea to give money to help poorer communities…”
So I’ll explain again. For those who already understood I apologize for the repetition.
I’m not against giving money to help poorer communities. I’m against giving them money designated for law enforcement. Because while we need to help poorer communities, we also need law enforcement.
And if you think the money can be reallocated to help poorer communities because it will also help law enforcement by preventing crime from happening in the first place, you’re wrong.
Yes, I know that there’s a direct link between poverty and crime and I know that you’re more likely to commit crime if you’re poor and I know that it therefore seems that reallocating the police budget to reduce poverty will also reduce crime, but as I said, you’re wrong.
It won’t work and it’s a bad idea.
For both a practical reason and a more fundamental reason.
The Practical Reason – There’s Not Enough Money
The practical reason why reallocating money to help poorer communities won’t prevent crime is because there’s not enough money to make it work.
Here are some more facts:
- The US police budget is about $115 billion a year
- Total US spending on welfare for 2020 is about $1.89 trillion
- There are approximately 44 million Americans living below the poverty line
- The poverty line for a household with one person is $12,880
With $1.89 trillion a year already spent on welfare and 44 million American’s still living below the poverty line and more likely to commit crime, an extra $115 billion a year in programs will not suddenly bring them above the poverty line and cause a reduction in crime.
Even if you skipped the programs and simply divided the money from the police budget among the poor, that would only amount to an extra ($115 billion ÷ 44 million =)$2,614 a year each. This will still leave many below the poverty line and even for those “catapulted” above the poverty line, if they were likely to commit crime when having less than $12,880, this small increase is not going to make much difference to that.
Now obviously you can simply fund those who live in extreme poverty or those who you think are more likely to commit crimes, but I’m not convinced that those who fall into the category of extreme poverty are more likely to commit crimes than those who are merely below the poverty line, or that you know who’s more likely to commit crimes.
And if you’re wrong you won’t have a police force to fall back on.
That’s why reallocating money to help poorer communities and prevent crime, won’t work in practice and is a bad idea.
The Fundamental Reason – The Poor Value System Remains
There’s actually a more fundamental reason why reallocating money to help poorer communities won’t prevent crime and it’s this:
Just because you’re more likely to commit a crime if you’re poor, it doesn’t mean that if you’re poor you’re likely to commit a crime.
In fact, if you’re poor you’re probably more likely not to commit a crime than to commit one. Not everyone uses their problems as an excuse to smash other people in the face and steal their money.
This means that the link is not between poverty and crime but between poverty combined with a poor value system and crime.
Now you may argue what difference does it make? There maybe two combined factors that are linked to crime but as long as you get rid of either one, you’ll be reducing crime. Get rid of the factor of poverty and even if there’s a poor value system, you’ll have reduced crime.
The only problem is that it’s the factor of a poor value system that’s the main cause of crime. This must be so because all poor people have the second factor in common (it’s in the title- poor people) but not the poor value system.
Removing the factor of poverty and keeping the factor of a poor value system will mean that when the next problem comes along, the two will combine and you’ll have your original increased likelihood of crime.
That’s why reallocating money to help poorer communities and prevent crime won’t work and is a bad idea.
Besides on what planet does one say that when there’s a link between poverty combined with a poor value system and crime that to stop crime it’s the poverty and not the poor value system that should be addressed.
It’s like when your child has a tantrum because you’re not giving them what they want, and instead of insisting they behave properly you give in.
Oh, now I see why the Left thinks it’s a good idea.
3. There Are No Alternative Methods of Law Enforcement
Reallocating money for alternative methods of law enforcement is a bad idea because there aren’t any. Defund the police all you want but any alternatives that you form to replace it, will be no different to what we have now.
Alternative Methods Are Conventional Methods
Some of the alternative methods of law enforcement that I’ve come across are:
- Mediation and intervention teams
- Community safety professionals
- Violence interrupters
- Crime neutralizing specialists
My favorite is the last one because it’s clever, it rolls of the tongue, and I came up with it.
Members of these teams would deal with low-level crimes such as minor disputes, traffic and road safety issues and incidents of mental health distress with the goal of mediating and intervening in such a way as to stop crime and / or violence before it can happen.
They would also build relationships with the local community, and maintaining a presence in schools and neighborhoods, so as to improve police-community relations, increase feelings of safety and reduce crime.
Of course, if the alternative police fail to prevent the crime and / or violence, they can call the real … I mean the conventional police for backup.
The truth is, that this type of policing is actually a good idea. In fact, it’s such a good idea that it’s been going on for years!
When the police respond to low-level crime, they don’t simply arrest the offender or shoot them in the face. No, they try to resolve the situation peacefully and stop it from escalating. They also spend time building relationships with the community with the goal of trying to prevent crime from occurring in the first place.
Alternative methods of law enforcement are basically the same as conventional methods of law enforcement, the only difference between them being that the conventional police don’t have a fancy name for how they deal with low-level crime.
That’s why reallocating money to ‘alternative’ methods of law enforcement is a bad idea.
Alternative Methods Aren’t Better than Conventional Ones
The Left claim that alternative methods of law enforcement would be better for the following reasons:
- They would be better trained in mediation and intervention
- They would not be armed or have any police powers
According to the Left, being better trained means that they would be more likely to successfully defuse the situation, and being unarmed and without any police powers means that there would be no risk of the type of escalation that being armed and having police powers can cause.
But this is dubious at best and wrong when being accurate.
It’s true that conflict resolution specialists are better trained in conflict resolution. But the police are better trained at conflict resolution with criminals who have the moral caliber that makes them unlikely to respond to even the best conflict resolution techniques, without the threat of law enforcement in the background.
It’s also true that there’s a greater risk of escalation with an armed police officer who has the power to enforce the law than with an unarmed police officer who can’t, but since the plan is to call the conventional police if necessary, surely the alternative police will also cause an escalation.
Yes, they’re less likely to cause an escalation but since the conventional police are highly unlikely to cause an escalation either, the difference between the two is so small that it doesn’t really matter.
Let’s go back to our earlier calculations.
If a third of the police come into contact with one low-level criminal a day, (we’re still low-balling) then:
700,000 ÷ 3 = 233,333
A third of the police
1 × 365 = 365
No. of interactions b/w one officer and low-level criminals a year
233,333 × 365 = 85,166,545
Total no. of interactions b/w police and low-level criminals a year
No. of deaths / escalations by police a year
85,166,545 – 1,000 = 85,165,545
Total no. of interactions b/w police and low-level criminals a year that don’t escalate
In other words, there are more than 85 million interactions between police and low-level criminals a year that don’t end in escalation and only 1000 that may have (some may have started violently). That’s a probability of 1 in 85 thousand. So not very likely at all. I’m not sure how much the alternative police can improve on this.
Besides, such an escalation might be justified.
I mean we’re talking low-level crime here, so it’s very strange that the presence of armed police with the power to enforce the law should cause an escalation. It’s a low-level crime, so there’s no point in the criminal escalating matters and even if the police enjoy being brutal, they could just wait for the next high-level crime and not risk their jobs.
One explanation might be that it’s the criminal that escalates matters. I know, who would have thought.
Perhaps this is their umpteenth offence and this time they’ll go to jail. Perhaps they’re also doing a high-level crime at the same time. Perhaps they just don’t like being told what to do.
Either way, if these are the types of circumstances that can cause escalation to occur, then it turns out that the problem of armed police with the power to enforce the law escalating matters, is actually just the solution to criminals trying to avoid suffering the consequences of their crimes.
So alternative methods of law enforcement are not better than conventional methods (if anything the reverse is true), and since the two are basically the same, reallocating money from one to the other would be a bad idea.