Blue Vs. Red: Major Cities’ Police Forces Are At Record Lows As Dems Deny Defunding The Police
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/07/12: A counterprotester holding a Defund Police sign at the protest. Pro-NYPD marchers clashed with a big crowd of Black Lives Matter counterprotesters during the ìBack the Blueî rally and march in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images.

As Democrats head into an election disavowing their prior claims to “defund the police,” major Democrat-run cities have significantly fewer police than they did a few years ago, a Daily Wire analysis of federal data found.

Cities with populations of 500,000 or more had, combined, 2.54 police per 1,000 residents last year, versus 2.8 in 2016 and 2.75 in 2018, according to data collected from police departments across the country by the FBI. In the year 2000, the rate was 3.31.

Compared to 2018, two years before George Floyd’s killing and a wave of “Black Lives Matter” anti-police activism, New York City, which has the nation’s largest police force at over 35,000 uniformed officers, was down 1,087 officers in 2021, the most recent year for which data was available. The city slashed its budget for that year by $1 billion.

Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed by a police officer now serving a 22-year sentence, has a police department that is down 24% in sworn officers. Los Angeles was down 500, from 10,000 to 9,500 officers.

Daily Wire analysis of FBI data showing the number of sworn police officers per capita over time.

Seattle, where protesters set up an “autonomous zone” off limits to cops—with police fleeing their own precinct station– saw its police force decline by 248, losing nearly 1 in 5 officers.

The Portland, Oregon, police department was down 15%, leading residents of the famously liberal city to cry on camera as they lamented how gangsters had simply taken over formerly nice residential neighborhoods, even moving into their homes when residents went on vacation.

The same decline in sworn officers was seen in liberal cities within red states. In Louisville, Kentucky, a Democrat-controlled area where unrest occurred following the police shooting of Breonna Taylor there, the number of officers was down 17%.

Austin, Texas, lost 238 officers, declining from 1,851 to 1,613. Austin officials reduced the police budget by $31.5 million for the 2020-2021 budget year.

“This Budget continues to look at public safety holistically by reducing the planned number of police officers by 100 and reallocating just over $11 million in Police Department funding to other community safety needs including: Additional staffing and resources for the Office of Police Oversight and the Equity Office,” the budget said.

In June 2021, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill stopping cities from reducing law enforcement funding, forcing Austin to reverse the cut this year.

Even when cities did not decrease police budgets—and some with declining police forces did not–anti-police policies have led to a wave of retirements, resignations, and difficulty recruiting for jobs in which candidates believe they are being set up to fail.

Austin said it created various other demands on police, such as a resolution calling “for zero racial disparity in motor vehicle stops, zero racial disparity in citations and arrests resulting from motor vehicle stops by 2023, zero use-of-force incidents per year by 2023, and zero deaths related to an officer-involved incident by 2023.”

There is a racial disparity in those who commit crime, according to FBI data, so such demands for “equity” could require police to let criminals go, or even be incentivized to entrap others because of their race.

Ian Prior, a former Department of Justice official in the Trump administration, told The Daily Wire the anti-cop rhetoric and enforcement policies have hurt staffing numbers as much as the actual budget cuts.

“The fact that we are seeing police officers quitting is a direct consequence of the far left’s woke agenda to not only cut resources, but smear and demean law enforcement and make those jobs more difficult and dangerous as a result,” Prior said.

He said that soft-on-crime prosecutors who have pledged not to enforce certain laws, including petty theft, make police feel that their work is for naught, with the charges they bring to prosecutors discarded.

Decline In Police Force Of Major Cities, 2018-2021
Louisville Metro
San Francisco
Long Beach
St. Louis
Virginia Beach

In Durham, North Carolina, the number of sworn officers decreased 13%. In 2020, Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson said “police were established as a white supremacist institution, that they were created to police black people and protect white property.”

“Our best chance for building a safety solution that puts people first, that puts communities first, that takes care of people rather than criminalizes, incarcerates and punishes them is by shifting resources that we use for policing into other systems,” she told NPR.

Calls to “defund the police” became popular with Democratic politicians in 2020, but became a political liability in the ensuing years after crime became a constant thorn in the side of many residents.

The mayor of San Francisco dramatically reversed course, condemning lawbreakers and calling for increased policing.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a top House Democrat, told CNN in June 2020 that “nobody is going to defund the police.”

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