The fallout from 'defund the police': Fewer officers, less patrolling and more crime

Law enforcement officials warn that 78% of police departments have difficulty recruiting qualified candidates, and 65% cannot even fill vacancies. Resignations and retirements have also skyrocketed.

The police are approaching their limit. This is what the heads of law enforcement agencies concluded in a report analyzing the difficulties in recruiting officers. This is due, in large part, to the "defund the police" policies enacted by numerous progressive leaders and Democratic Party officials. According to the report, 78% of law enforcement agencies are experiencing difficulties recruiting qualified candidates. Furthermore, 65% say that the candidates who do apply are not enough to fill the vacancies. This is causing an increase in crime as well as a reduction in the services that officers can provide to their communities.

Departments have stopped patrolling due to officer shortage

The situation has taken a radical turn in recent years. According to a study by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), until recently, there were up to 100 applications for each officer position available. In addition to the decline in applications, the drop in qualified candidates is even greater. According to the data, there are twice as many departments that are unable to fill open positions than those that continue to receive a sufficient number of applicants. Many vacancies remain open, and many departments' officers are forced to work double shifts, reduce their services and even stop patrolling due to lack of personnel.

Violent crime remains above pre-pandemic numbers, according to several studies. Officials in cities such as Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco and Memphis, Tenn., which all embraced the defund the police movement, have indicated that their situation is becoming critical. The problem is not only the lack of financial means for officers to carry out their work, but also the pressure and surveillance they are subjected to by political leaders who are more than willing to reduce charges against criminals or free them altogether.

Demonization of law enforcement

Defund the police policies gained momentum following the violent BLM riots over the death of George Floyd. The demonization of police, together with the difficulty and risks of the job, have caused a notable drop in applications for police academies. There have also been significant increases in resignations and retirements. According to PERF, retirements and resignations increased by 65% ​​between 2020 and 2022. The reduction in funding and reorganization of police departments has also contributed to this situation.

Minneapolis may be the best example, with a report from the Department of Justice criticizing the force's protocols, saying that officers engaged in a "pattern or practice of conduct that deprives people of their rights under the Constitution and federal law." But it is not the only one. San Francisco Mayor London Breed cut police funding by $120 million after the BLM riots, and she has since had to defend the anti-police rhetoric and the increase in crime in the city. Police recruiters even had to go to Texas universities in search of candidates, in addition to increasing incentives. New York has lost over 900 officers since 2022.