Minneapolis Mayor: You know, this "defund the police" thing may have increased crime

(Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, File)

It’s been another week in Minneapolis that looks more like the wild west than a modern, midwestern city. On Sunday night, seven people were shot in multiple incidents, with one victim being killed. Another person was killed on Monday night. Meanwhile, arrests and prosecutions are lagging far behind these reported incidents. People have been noticing and they are bringing their complaints directly to Mayor Jacob Frey when he ventures out to address the public. One pastor named Dale Hume came forward to say that the city’s efforts to defund the police haven’t worked and “you can obviously see that is not the solution.” Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Mayor Frey came out this week and said that he agrees with the Pastor. (CBS Minnesota)

“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,” Frey said…

“It’s just the reality of the solution, you know. When you make big, overarching statements that we’re going to defund or abolish and dismantle the police department and get rid of all the officers, there’s an impact to that,” Frey said. “Do we need massive change? Yes we do. We need accountability and culture shift within our department, and we need police.”

Mayor Frey says he plans to release a plan later this week that includes laying out both safety and accountability.

It just feels like this guy can’t help himself. He makes a public statement saying that there’s too much violent crime and that we need the police, but he immediately couches it with comments about needing “massive change” and accountability on the part of the cops. Do you suppose you might be able to work on that project after you put some of these murderers and gang bangers in jail?

That might be a tall order, however. It’s tough to get a violent crime problem under control without sufficient law enforcement. The number of uniformed officers is well below where it needs to be and the police they do have left seem demoralized and less willing to get out of their cars to investigate suspicious activity. It doesn’t help that the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the Minneapolis PD (at the invitation of the Mayor, by the way.)

Other current events should also be informing this debate as the city moves forward. For quite a while, much of the violence could be pinned on the riots that followed all of the protests over George Floyd and the ensuing battles between rioters and the cops. But now the trial is over and Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder (pending the appeals process) and he’s behind bars. That’s supposedly what the protesters wanted, right? And there have been fewer and smaller protests since then, it’s true. And yet the crime rate continues to go in the wrong direction.

How is the Mayor to explain this? Could it be that the criminal element in his city has noticed that it’s considerably easier to get away with crimes, including violent crimes these days? And since the apparent risk of being arrested and held accountable seems lower, opportunistic criminals are taking advantage of the situation. So sure, Mr. Mayor. Maybe defunding the police wasn’t such a great idea after all. But now you’ve created a vacuum that you won’t be able to fill overnight. If only someone could have warned you that this might happen. (/sarcasm)