MSNBC contributor Brittany Packnett Cunningham on Monday claimed the police are to blame for the rise of crime in New York City.
Cunningham, formerly a part of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Ferguson Commission, spoke about the reason for the rise in crime and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think it’s important to begin with the simple fact that all of us —and I do mean all of us — want safer communities,” Cunningham said. “Everyone wants and deserves to be able to walk out of their home, walk freely on the street, play with their child and ensure that everyone is safe while doing so.”
“But what we also know to be true is that defunding the police is not just about taking money out of an institution that continues to prove ineffective. It’s also about refunding the people,” she continued. “It’s about ensuring that the services that people need to ensure safe communities from the ground up are actually being funded and resourced to their full capacity.”
“I think that there are a lot of police unions and GOP operatives that would like for us to believe that this recent crime wave has everything to do with this idea of defunding the police,” Cunningham went on.
“But guess what, Stephanie? The police haven’t been defunded,” she said, discussing law enforcement spending in the 50 largest U.S. cities and saying their law enforcement general expenditures went up from 13.6% to 13.7%, as portrayed in a report from Bloomberg.
As Fox News reported, that same Bloomberg report said those cities “reduced their 2021 police budgets by 5.2% in aggregate.” Cunningham also notably didn’t focus on the fact that many of the largest cities in the United States were also at the center of Black Lives Matter protests and riots last year.
“This rise in crime is not the fault of the movement. It’s actually the fault of the police and this has been our point all along,” Cunningham said.
“Why should we keep funding systems and institutions that keep rendering themselves ineffective?” she asked. “We should be talking about gun control, livable wages, fair housing, education. That’s where we should be moving the money to to ensure truly safe streets.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 21, 2021
Defunding the police is an increasingly unpopular mantra, especially among many voters who are against the idea. As anti-police rhetoric increases and crime in cities goes up, many voters are beginning to distance themselves from the idea of cutting police funding.
A USA Today/Ipsos poll released in March showed that “[o]nly 18% of respondents supported the movement known as ‘defund the police,’ and 58% said they opposed it.”
Voters appear to be possibly moving towards more pro-police candidates, even in Democratic races. The top contender in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary race is Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, according to the New York Post.
A release accompanying the data said, “When asked who is best able to handle the major issues affecting New York City, Adams has a clear lead over the rest of the candidates on the issue of crime and public safety,” adding, “[w]hen asked who is best able to handle the major issues affecting New York City, Adams has a clear lead over the rest of the candidates on the issue of crime and public safety.”
The shift comes at a time when police officers are leaving the service in droves, creating a problem that might make defunding the departments unnecessary, but for the wrong reasons.
As The New York Times reported last week, the number of police officers retiring and leaving the force went up last year. According to the Times, “A survey of about 200 police departments indicates that retirements were up by 45 percent and resignations by 18 percent in the period between April 2020 and April 2021, when compared with the preceding 12 months.”
“We have lost about one-third of our staff to resignation and retirement,” said Chief David Zack of the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina. “Certainly with the way that police have been portrayed and vilified in some cases, they have decided that it is not the life for them.”