Black Lives Matter is perhaps the most preeminent subject of public discourse on race relations in the United States. Its policy agenda on law enforcement and police reform has also received support from progressive activists and lawmakers.
As Black Lives Matter’s political power has grown, however, their success in mainstreaming once radical ideas like police abolition has left law enforcement demoralized and often without adequate resources. Furthermore, the rise of Black Lives Matter and their ideas is correlated with an explosion in violent crime — particularly murder — nationwide.
In Minneapolis, where the death of George Floyd in May sparked a wave of protests and riots across the country, more than 100 people have been shot since Floyd’s death, according to the Southwest Journal. (RELATED: 551 Rapes Reported In Minneapolis In 2019. Activists, City Leaders Still Want To ‘Dismantle’ Police Department)
Major cities across the country like Atlanta, New York City and Los Angeles have also seen similar spikes in gun violence, homicides and other violent crimes.
Data released by the F.B.I.’s Uniform Crime Report on 25 major American cities found that murder rates went up 16.1% compared to last year, The New York Times reported. In 20 of the cities included in the data, year-to-date murder rates were higher this year compared to 2019.
Furthermore, violent crime — including murder, aggravated assault, rape and robbery — went up in 14 of the cities included in the Uniform Crime Report data. Property crimes — including theft, auto theft and burglary — went up in 7 of the sampled cities, according to The New York Times.
Although the F.B.I. is yet to release an annual report for 2020 crime data, an analysis of year-to-date crime data from a sample of major American cities could provide a reasonably accurate extrapolation in order to better estimate what the annual trend would look like.
Violent crime had been steadily decreasing over 30 years, with the national crime rate peaking in 1991 at 5,856 crimes per 100,000 people according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
As the violent crime rate fell 51% between 1993 and 2018, there were only two interruptions in that trend: the first between 2004 and 2006 and the second between 2014 and 2016, according to Pew Research Center.
As major American cities witness some of the worst violent crime in roughly 3 decades, law enforcement officials face mounting challenges. Their operations have been strained by the coronavirus and calls to reduce budgets or even abolish police departments altogether.
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to “dismantle” the city’s police department in June, and the Oakland School Board in California followed suit by abolishing its school police department. (RELATED: Abolishing Police Is The Ultimate Luxury Belief)
Several of the cities included in the Uniform Crime Report sample have introduced significant budget cuts to their police departments, even as violent crime rates spike. New York City cut roughly $1 billion from the New York Police Department in late June and was followed by Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles Police Department saw a $150 million budget cut.
One of the consequences of mass unrest and already strained police departments has been an increase in violence committed against police officers. Amid the George Floyd protest, more than 700 law enforcement officials have been injured on the job, from local police officers to members of the Secret Service, the New York Post reported.
Diminishing financial and political support has also demoralized police officers, ABC News reported. “Morale is terrible. But people don’t have low morale because of something the chief did, it’s because they’re afraid that nobody in this community is going to stand up for them,” Milwaukee inspector Terrence Gordon told the Police Executive Research Forum.
Police union officials also told the Daily Caller News Foundation that morale has sharply declined among law enforcement. “It’s just a thankless, god-awful job right now,” International Union of Police Associations Vice President Emeritus Dennis Slocumb told the DCNF.