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 choose Democratic and Republican candidates amid increase in violent crime throughout the US.
Homicides and other violent crimes that skyrocketed in 2020 continue their national rise and President Joe Biden will speak on Wednesday about what he “will do to help fight” the rise in crime, especially gun violence, “as we have seen around the country is a concern of many Americans, “White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
Firearm crime has experienced a sharp rise in major metropolitan areas, and especially 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 begins to open, according to numbers from the New York Police Department quoted by CNN .
This weighs on voters’ minds, according to a NY1 / Ipsos poll released on June 7 (PDF). The survey found that 46 per cent of voters consider crime as their main concern, surpassing affordable housing by 45 per cent and COVID-19 by 32 per cent.
Democrat Eric Adams, a former New York Police Department captain and Brooklyn district president, has argued that it is best suited to deal with the rising crime rate and it seems voters are listening.
An Ipsos survey published on June 21, it was found that polled voters rated Adams as the best candidate to deal with rising crime.
The poll also suggested Adams was leading the group of 11 Democratic candidates with 28 percent support.
While well below the 50 percent threshold needed to win directly, Adams is still well positioned under New York City’s new voting system, which allows New Yorkers to choose candidates according to their preferences and, at they then eliminate candidates with a lower rank in several rounds. until a winner is selected.
Adams has argued against calls to “defuse police” that gained strength after the assassination of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin George Floyd, saying it was a slogan adopted by wealthy white people.
Funders have called for these funds to be earmarked for other social service programs that focus on crime prevention by improving people’s living conditions.
Black communities disagree with the approach. Adams, who is black, said he needed more police.
When New York’s popular progressive representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backed Maya Wiley, who has called for the NYPD’s budget to be cut by $ 1 billion, Adams issued a statement criticizing the two for their calls in defense of the police.
“They are putting slogans and policy in front of public safety and they would endanger the lives of New Yorkers,” he said.
But Ernesto Lopez, an investigative specialist with the Criminal Justice Council (CCJ), told Al Jazeera that while “declining budgets could diminish police capacity to proactively reduce crime” and “some investigations suggest that the “funding” aspect can reduce the motivation of police officers, thus limiting the more proactive police, ”he trusts“ less that this is driving the increase [in violence]”.
Increase or disburse
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has agreed with Adams’ sentiment and said the cities “gave the keys to the”He defused the police‘mafia’, in an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests which arose in the United States after Floyd’s death.
FOP tweeted an image on May 25 showing “soaring murder rates” in many major cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, which saw a staggering 800 percent increase in murder rates as of May 2021, FOP said.
Any guesses of what these cities have in common?
In addition to having some elected officials not doing their job, the leadership of all these cities gave the keys to the “Defund the Police” crowd. pic.twitter.com/rF5QLskXqE
– National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) May 25, 2021
Minneapolis and Portland were at the forefront of police divestment, but their police budgets fell by 5% and 4%, respectively.
The increase in Portland’s homicide rate is staggering, but the total number of homicides was 10 in May 2021, increasing by two in May 2020, seconds to city data.
This is a 500 percent jump, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Los Angeles i Chicago they reduced their budgets to a similar degree, about 5 percent in Los Angeles and 3 percent in Chicago. These figures were much lower than activists wanted.
Chicago has seen an increase in violent crime. The deadliest day in 2021 was June 15, with eight deaths in gunfire, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
But crime rates are rising in the United States, regardless of whether police budgets are shrinking, staying steady, or rising. There is little evidence to suggest that the office of police departments has increased crime.
Houston and Nashville, two cities run by Democratic mayors, increased their funding for police over the past year. Houston has seen homicides rise 35 percent and Nashville homicides in January and February double in the same period in 2020, according to local average.
Criminologists and other experts warned that the rise in crime is caused by countless factors. Some are structural and have been part of society for generations. The effects of COVID-19 cannot be ignored either.
CJC research specialist López said that “it is also worth noting that homicides were approximately 20 percent higher in the first quarter of 2020, before the death of George Floyd“.
While some have criticized the “police waste” investment model in community-based violence prevention programs, Baltimore’s Safe Streets program is promising.
The Safe Streets program describes itself as a “evidence-based public health program to reduce gun violence among youth.” The program in McElderry Park and Belair-Edison, two historically dangerous neighborhoods in East Baltimore, is overseen by Living Classrooms.
“Safe Streets employs outside workers to enter the community and mediate disputes before they turn to violence, while simultaneously recruiting troubled youth or courts to be part of the program,” its website states.
The program conducted 661 mediations in 2020 and only four of Baltimore’s 335 homicides that year occurred in both neighborhoods, according to its website.
Calls for community responses to crimes occurred when public confidence in law enforcement collapsed. Last June, 45% of people wanted to “preserve law and order” compared to 44% who favored the “right to protest,” according to an Ipsos poll.
However, this feeling has changed, according to a March Ipsos poll, where 31 percent of respondents opted for the right to protest and 45 percent wanted to preserve law and order.
Police have long been criticized in the US. Tensions between police and activists have been steadily strained since 2014, when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Public outcry and protests help launch the BLM movement. The killings have continued, as have the protests. Confidence in law enforcement fell in the middle of last year, when the United States saw constant protests against racism and police brutality.
Instead of seeing BLM as a factor that increases crime, perhaps it should be seen as “a reflection of current social conditions,” Lopez said.
“There is solid research that supports as police legitimacy diminishes, and even the legitimacy of the general government, crime can increase,” he continued.
“As legitimacy diminishes, people simply comply less with the law” and “there tends to be less cooperation with the police. This impedes the ability of the police to investigate crimes and capture suspects.”