You know what might solve this problem? More police on patrol — and a city government that supports them. Unfortunately, as Minneapolis residents are learning the very hard way, demonizing police and demanding their abolition creates serious consequences for public safety. Police chief Medaria Arradondo tells WCCO that violence has skyrocketed in the city this summer, with homicides already outstripping all of 2019 and heading to their highest level in five years.
Unfortunately, Arradondo also says, he can’t allocate more resources, because more than a hundred Minneapolis police officers have left, thanks to the city council’s abolish-the-police campaigning:
WCCO’s Reg Chapman went to a neighborhood in north Minneapolis today where residents say the gun violence is like living in a war zone.
The hypnotizing sounds of a wind chime and the view of a pond in their section of north Minneapolis is not enough to escape the sounds of what happens when the sun goes down.
“Honestly I really haven’t been sleeping right now I mean really I can’t. I hear every little thing that is going on police sirens like the helicopters the gun shooting everything” Liz Cruz said.
“You’re sleeping and all of a sudden you feel like you are in a war zone. I have four children and I’ll sleep with them all in my room because I am scared and I’m terrified something is going to happen to them,” Cruz said.
That’s not the most powerful part of Cruz’ tearful testimony. She lashes out at the city council, demanding they start showing their faces in her neighborhood. “Where are you?” Cruz asks. “Show your face to us! … For the love of God, just come here and say something to us the people that are freaking voting for you and depend on you to take care of us!”
The city council may not show their faces to the constituents they left to the criminals, but Mike Pence will. The VP will appear in Minneapolis next week to support the police department and to head a “listening session” on the crisis in the city:
Vice President Mike Pence will return to Minnesota next Thursday, when he plans to hold a Cops for Trump listening session in Minneapolis.
The police gathering is “focusing on the Trump administration’s unwavering commitment to law enforcement,” the campaign announced. It comes as President Donald Trump has focused on a “law and order” message on the campaign trail, following civil unrest across the nation after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
If half of politics is showing up, then Pence has a big jump on the Minneapolis city council, and on Joe Biden.
By the way, the spike in homicides and crime in general following a police retreat now has a new name. The Wall Street Journal calls it “the Minneapolis effect,” and it’s not limited to Minnesota:
Chicago’s shooting spike reflects what is happening in many major cities across the country. Researchers have identified a “structural break” in homicide numbers, beginning in the last week of May. Trends for most other major crime categories have remained generally stable or moved slightly downward.
What changed in late May? The antipolice protests that began across the country around May 27 appear to have resulted in a decline in policing directed at gun violence, producing—perhaps unsurprisingly—an increase in shootings. …
Even as the demonstrations abated, what is commonly called “proactive” policing declined. Police department data show that street and vehicle stops in Minneapolis and Philadelphia dropped sharply in June. In Chicago and New York, arrests declined steeply. And in cities around the country, both law-enforcement and citizen reports suggest a general reluctance by officers to engage in hot-spot and other enforcement efforts that are most effective in deterring gun violence.
The idea that reductions in policing might be leading to more shootings has historical precedent. Heather Mac Donaldproposed a “Ferguson Effect” in May 2015 to explain homicide increases in the aftermath of antipolice protests following Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., the previous year. Similarly, my research with Richard Fowles identified declines in police street stops as the triggering event for the 2016 homicide spike in Chicago. Beginning in late 2015, pursuant to an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union, Chicago police significantly reduced stop-and-frisks in the city. The result was a deadly homicide spike the following year.
The pattern in Chicago in 2016—a dramatic spike in shootings and homicides but not other crimes—is the pattern in many cities across America today. What Chicago suffered in 2016 is playing out across a much larger stage today—a new and deadly “Minneapolis Effect.”
We learned a generation ago that proactive policing keeps crime levels down and gets better engagement from communities. For some reason in 2020, America has insisted that no policing would work better than proactive policing. And now we are all relearning the lessons of a generation ago the hard way, and perhaps in the hardest way possible.