Fears of a bloody summer have become a focal point of the New York mayoral race as residents go to the polls in primaries to pick Democratic and Republican candidates in the middle increase in violent crime across the United States.
Homicides and other violent crimes that increased in 2020 continue their national ascent, and President Joe Biden will speak on Wednesday about what he “will do to help tackle” growing crime, especially gun violence, “as we do. saw it around the country, it’s a concern for many Americans, ”White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
Firearm crime has increased sharply in major metropolitan areas, and particularly in the country’s largest city, New York. Shooting incidents increased 73% in May 2021 from the previous year, as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and New York City begins to reopen, according to New York Police Department figures cited by CNN .
It’s weighing on voters’ minds, according to an NY1 / Ipsos poll released on June 7 (PDF). The poll found that 46% of voters see crime as their top concern, surpassing affordable housing at 45% and COVID-19 at 32%.
Democrat Eric Adams, former New York Police Department captain and Brooklyn Borough president, argued he was best positioned to deal with rising crime rates, and voters seem to be listening.
A Ipsos survey published on June 21 found that likely voters polled saw Adams as the best candidate to deal with rising crime.
The poll also suggested Adams led the pack of 11 Democratic candidates with 28% support.
Despite being well below the 50% threshold needed to achieve victory, Adams is still well placed in New York City’s new ranked voting system, which allows New Yorkers to choose candidates by according to their preferences, then eliminates the lower ranked candidates in multiple rounds. until a winner is selected.
Adams opposed calls to ‘fund the police’ that gained traction after the death of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin George floyd, saying it was a slogan adopted by well-to-do whites.
Those who support the funding have called for these funds to be diverted to other social service programs that focus on preventing crime by improving the lives of people.
Black communities disagree with the approach. Adams, who is black, said more police are needed.
When Popular Progressive New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Maya Wiley, who called for cutting the NYPD’s budget by $ 1 billion, Adams released a statement criticizing the two for their calls for police funding. .
“They are putting slogans and politics in front of public safety and would endanger the lives of New Yorkers,” he said.
But Ernesto Lopez, a research specialist for the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), told Al Jazeera that while “shrinking budgets could decrease the ability of police to proactively reduce crime” and that “some research suggests that the ‘fundraising’ aspect may reduce police motivation, thereby limiting more proactive policing, ‘it is’ less confident that this will lead to the increase [in violence]”.
Increase or refund
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) agrees with Adams’ sentiment and said the towns’ have handed over the keys to ‘Fund the police“Crowd”, in an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) events which arose across the United States after Floyd’s death.
The FOP tweeted an image on May 25 showing “skyrocketing murder rates” in many major cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore., which saw a staggering 800% increase in murder rates in May 2021, according to the FOP.
Do you have any idea what these cities have in common?
In addition to having elected officials who do not do their job, the leaders of all these cities have handed over the keys to the “Defund the Police” mafia. pic.twitter.com/rF5QLskXqE
– National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) May 25, 2021
Minneapolis and Portland were at the forefront of police funding, but their police budgets were cut by 5% and 4%, respectively.
The increase in the homicide rate in Portland is staggering, but the total number of homicides was 10 in May 2021, up from two in May 2020, according to to city data.
This is a jump of about 500%, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Los Angeles and Chicago cut their budgets to a similar degree, about 5% in Los Angeles and 3% in Chicago. These numbers were well below what the activists wanted.
Chicago has seen an increase in violent crime. Its deadliest day of 2021 was June 15, with eight fatalities in shootings, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
But crime rates are rising in the United States, whether police budgets decline, remain stable, or increase. There is little evidence to suggest that funding police services has increased crime.
Houston and Nashville, two cities run by Democratic mayors, have increased their funding for the police over the past year. Houston saw homicides increase by 35% and Nashville homicides in January and February doubled from the same period in 2020, according to local average.
Criminologists and other experts have warned that the increase in crime is caused by a myriad of factors. Some are structural and have been part of society for generations. The effects of COVID-19 also cannot be ignored.
CJC research specialist Lopez said it “is also worth noting that homicides were about 20% higher in the first quarter of 2020, before the death of George floyd. “
While some have criticized the “fund the police” model of investing in community violence prevention programs, the Safe Streets program in Baltimore shows promise.
The Safe Streets program describes itself as an “evidence-based public health program to reduce gun violence among youth.” The program at McElderry Park and Belair-Edison, two historically dangerous neighborhoods in East Baltimore, is overseen by Living Classrooms.
“Safe Streets employs outreach workers to go into the community and mediate disputes before they escalate into violence while simultaneously recruiting troubled or on trial youth to be part of the program,” their website says.
The program conducted 661 mediations in 2020 and only four of the 335 homicides in Baltimore that year occurred in the two neighborhoods, according to its website.
Calls for community responses to crime came as public confidence in law enforcement collapsed. Last June, 45% of people wanted to “preserve public order” against 44% who were in favor of the “right to demonstrate”, according to an Ipsos poll.
However, this feeling changed, according to a March Ipsos poll, where 31 percent of those polled supported the right to protest and 45 percent wanted to preserve public order.
The police have long been the subject of criticism in the United States. Tensions between the police and activists have continued to be tense since 2014, when Michael brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Public outcry and protests help start the BLM movement. The killings continued, as did the demonstrations. Confidence in law enforcement plummeted in the middle of last year, when the United States witnessed constant protests against racism and police brutality.
Rather than seeing the BLM as a factor in increasing crime, perhaps it should be seen as “a reflection of current social conditions,” Lopez said.
“There is a solid body of research which supports that the legitimacy of the police force, and even the legitimacy of the general government, decreases, crime can increase,” he continued.
“As legitimacy decreases, people just comply with the law less,” and “there is generally less cooperation with the police. This hinders the ability of the police to investigate crimes and apprehend suspects. “