The New York Times theorized on Tuesday that increased scrutiny of police, as well as reductions in proactive police presences in major cities following the death of George Floyd in 2020 and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, may have in part allowed for homicides to increase rapidly over the past year and a half. The paper noted that previous periods involving protests of police also were proceeded by increased murders, but speculated that increase gun ownership and the COVID-19 crisis may have caused the violence as well.
The column noted that in 2020, “murders in the United States spiked more than 27% — the largest percentage increase in at least six decades. Last year, murders went up again.”
As for why that happened, the paper also blamed disruptions from the pandemic such as a loss of social services and inadequate schooling which typically kept troubled youth off the streets.
“The fallout from the 2020 racial justice protests and riots could have contributed to the murder spike,” the NYT wrote. “Police officers, scared of being caught in the next viral video, may have pulled back on proactive anti-violence practices.”
“More of the public lost confidence in the police, possibly reducing the kind of cooperation needed to prevent murders,” it added. “In extreme circumstances, the lack of confidence in the police could have led some people to take the law into their own hands — in acts of street or vigilante violence.”
“The timing supports this theory, with homicides rising unusually quickly shortly after George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests,” it noted. “Killings also spiked in 2015 and 2016, after protests over policing during those years.”
In wake of the death of George Floyd, many progressive cities rushed to defund the police or cut police funding. That seemed to backfire as crimes of all kinds increased in major American cities and, as The Daily Wire previously reported, some quickly refunded the police in 2021 to deal with the deluge of lawbreaking.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey admonished the Left last spring for their efforts to abolish the police department:
“The violence needs to stop, its unacceptable. People deserve to feel safe in their neighborhood, they deserve to be able to send their kids out to the sidewalk to play and to recreate without bullets flying by. That’s unacceptable. We should be holding these perpetrators accountable,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, said at a May 7 news conference addressing a spate of violence that ripped through the city.
Frey put much of the blame of rising crime rates on activists’ calls to defund the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Floyd’s death last year kicked off massive riots and calls to redirect police funding toward social programs. Violent crime surged 21% in Minneapolis last year, and the trend is threatening to continue through 2021.
By December 2021, the city had increased spending to $192 million after more than 300 police officers had left the force, many due thanks to low morale.
Still though, the New York Times concluded that to truly solve the problem of crime in cities, “there’s solid evidence for policing — specifically, more focused policing, targeting the people and places most likely to be violent.”
However the paper noted, that in the long-term, “experts support a range of solutions that enrich both individuals’ and communities’ socioeconomic standing over time; they include preschool programs, summer job initiatives, raising the school dropout age, greening of vacant lots, more streetlights and expanded drug treatment. There’s also good evidence for gun control and higher alcohol taxes.”