Many Cities Setting Homicide Record Veered Left on Policing

Many Cities Setting Homicide Record Veered Left on Policing Many Cities Setting Homicide Record Veered Left on Policing

By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 28 December 2021 10:08 AM

Among the 12 cities that experienced record levels of violence in 2021, many have instituted sweeping reforms over the past two years to reduce police funding, overhaul law enforcement policies, or put fewer people behind bars, the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday.

The changes that city leaders across the nation pursued came during intense scrutiny of law enforcement after a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, during an arrest attempt in May 2020.

But even some Democrat lawmakers have begun to rethink the reforms as the number of homicides nationwide has increased.

Although some of the cities setting homicide records did not specifically pursue left-wing policies, the national debate surrounding race and policing worsened structural problems, such as officer shortages, that experts say contributed to the increase in violence.

A leading example was Philadelphia, which broke its previous homicide record this year after the city’s liberal district attorney, Larry Krasner, got rid of cash bail for many low-level offenses, which led to fewer criminals going to prison and for shorter periods of time.

City leaders also diverted funding away from law enforcement and toward other priorities.

Columbus also broke records for homicides in 2021, the second year in a row it has set a record in that category.

The rise in homicides came as Columbus Police Department officials reported the departure of many officers that strained its law enforcement capabilities.

Following the backlash against police, city leaders and the police department agreed in July 2020 to a policy that would limit the police’s ability to arrest suspects for nonviolent offenses, and last December a state panel banned the use for all Ohio police departments.

These policies prompted some officers to seek jobs elsewhere.

Indianapolis is another city that set a record for homicides two years in a row.

Although Indiana’s largest city did not slash its police budget following the protests, it did place new limits on when officers can use deadly force, banning chokeholds and requiring officers to report any inappropriate behavior they witness among their fellow policemen.

In Portland, the city slashed $15 million from the police budget last year and this year broke a homicide record that had stood since 1987.

Voters in the Oregon city in last year’s election backed a ballot measure that overhauled the oversight system for police, granting a civilian panel extensive new powers to demand documents and testimony from officers accused of misconduct in the line of duty.

As the violence has worsened, Portland’s liberal Mayor Ted Wheeler has proposed adding money back to the police force to deal with recruiting difficulties as officers continue to leave the force in higher than normal numbers.