September 24, 2021

A few weeks ago, we noticed an article that told how many cities that had gotten on the leftist “defund the police” bandwagon in 2020 were doing an about-face and demanding that local leaders now “refund the police.”

The article gave credit for this change of attitude to Democrat leadership across the country being petrified that the surge in violent crime exploding in our cities will create a devastating political backlash in the next elections.

The most well-known cities where this has happened of course is in Portland and Seattle where city leaders cut police budgets by $15 million and $7.5 million respectively in the last year.  In Chicago last year, to appease leftist demands, the mayor had the police force leave vacant positions “unfilled as part of a broader drive to cut police budgets.”  The mayor is now dealing with a 60% increase in murders since 2019.

After realizing the folly of their creation, these same mayors are moving to reverse their positions and restore public safety funding. They have been forced to deal with the fact that they need to restore order and give respect back to the police and bring civility back to communities.  The big problem highlighted in the article is that many officers are “retiring rather than stay where they are scorned by their employers.” Perhaps a learning lesson is in order.

It’s not just something happening way far away.

A group Raleigh Demands Justice called for defunding the police in Raleigh earlier this year, saying that “The city should not increase the city’s police budget but instead put resources toward mental health support programs and homelessness reduction programs, among other things.”

We saw earlier this year how many police officers had left public safety jobs in Asheville, with the Police Chief wondering where he would find detectives to fight crime.

Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer recently wrote an opinion editorial in BUSINESSNC magazine lamenting the decline of support for public safety in our state.  In the article he commented on the plight of Asheville, citing a study by 24/7 Wall St., an independent financial news and opinion website, that “reported Asheville was in the top 10% of the most violent cities in the U.S. after reviewing FBI crime data for 4,548 cities with more than 5,000 people.”

Fetzer goes on to say:  “In a world seemingly turned upside down, our elected city leaders need to restore us to right-side up. They can begin with a renewed emphasis on public safety. This means, quite simply, more investment in law enforcement and proven strategies like establishing police substations in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. The vast majority of shootings and homicides are gang or drug-related or both. Eradicating gangs and drug trafficking needs more resources and manpower.”

“Our elected leaders, now more than ever, need and deserve our support to take the appropriate measures to rid our streets and neighborhoods of the criminals shooting and killing our fellow citizens. Let’s be clear. This does not entail giving law enforcement carte blanche.” “But it does mean restoring the respect and appreciation for the men and women who “serve and protect” us that has long been a mainstay of the American mindset.”

The bottom line? Our children cannot learn, much less thrive in our schools if they live in fear for their safety. Neither can parents function effectively in their jobs or other worthwhile pursuits if they live in fear for their children’s safety.”

He knows what he’s talking about.  Fetzer, as Mayor of Raleigh, embraced the “broken windows theory” of fighting crime popularized by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who cleaned up crime back in the 1990s. The criminal theory, according to Wikipedia, states that “visible signs of crimeanti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes.[1] The theory suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes, such as vandalismloiteringpublic drinkingjaywalking and fare evasion, help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness.”

In other words, if you want to stop the murders, you start with the small things and do things like building community relations.

It worked in Raleigh, and under Fetzer, the Raleigh Police Department grew, and crime was lowered.

We don’t know what the “magic-bullet” answer is for our crime problem today.  But one thing is clear.  We don’t need to defund the police.  What is so ironic is that this ridiculous leftist political mantra does the greatest disservice to the most vulnerable citizens in the lowest income areas. Shrinking police forces allows the worst of human behaviors to thrive unchecked.

Now bullets fly faster than ever.

It’s hard to remember a time when such little common sense was applied to the real-life problems we face.  One of the primary reasons individuals and families come together under  government is for it to do one of the things we typically can’t do ourselves – provide for our defense and to protect our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The liberals’ attempt to short-circuit this role and gut public safety has been a predictable failure.  And we can only hope that somehow confidence, trust and respect can be restored to these folks that lay their lives on the line for our protection and their numbers can increase.