Pressure from the streets and activists has taken effect and New York has committed itself to a billion dollar budget cut in its police force. “Defund the police” or “police cuts” is the demand that has been imposed after weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the latest episode of police abuse against the Black minority.
Several cities have taken steps to reduce police funding, redirect funds to other departments, or cut back on the number of police. New York has the largest police department in the U.S. and its officers have been subjected to constant protests and insults over the last month. The city’s mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, initially opposed cutting funds from an agency “that is here to protect us. Now he has bowed to pressure with a substantial reduction in the police budget-the total is $6 billion-and he argues that the cut will be made in a way “that will keep the city safe”.
The decision coincides, however, with a wave of violent crime in the last month. Parallel to the demonstrations that swept through the city every day in the first weeks of June, the homicide rate skyrocketed. There have been 34 homicides in the last four weeks, an increase of 47% from the same period last month. In terms of shootings, the number has doubled from 95 last year to 191 this June. The number of thefts has also skyrocketed, with an increase of 122%. In total major crimes, however, there has been an 8.3% drop.