What causes crime?
An MSNBC contributor believes she knows.
And the answer isn’t “people who commit it.”
On Monday, activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham took to television to talk about the malady.
If you haven’t heard, there’s lots of it.
As indicated by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice’s Pandemic, Social Unrest, and Crime in U.S. Cities 1010 Year-End Update, “Homicide rates in 2020 were 30% higher than in 2019. There were 1,268 more homicides in the sample of 34 cities than the year before.”
Also up last year: gun assaults and aggravated assaults.
In Chicago, from June 2020 to June ’21, misdeeds have increased thusly:
- Homicide: 5%
- Criminal Sexual Assault: 25%
- Motor Vehicle Theft: 9%
- Shootings 18%
Just this weekend, the Windy City saw at least 5 shot to death while 44 were injured in gun-related incidents.
What’s the source of the problem?
MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle invited Brittany on the air to find answers.
First, more about the guest — from her official website:
Brittany…is a leader at the intersection of culture and justice. … [She] is an award-winning educator, organizer, writer, and leader. …
A lifelong activist and proud member of the Ferguson Uprising, Brittany was co-host of the 2019 iHeart Radio Best Political Podcast, Pod Save The People, for three years, and a three time a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
At the beginning of MSNBC’s segment, Stephanie asked if “community policing” is the answer to crime.
Panelist Tracie Keesee — co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity — offered, “There are communities that have not been invested in, historically.”
“There are services,” she lamented, “that have been defunded, underfunded, or no funds existing.”
It’s an interesting idea — “services.”
The way our society is supposed to work, of course, is that we shouldn’t need “services” where safety is concerned. At least, not beyond police and emergency/rescue agencies.
In the old paradigm, most homes are filled with people who aren’t out to commit crime. For those who choose to kill or steal, there is a justice system. Cops are the couriers between the public and the pen.
But perhaps the old system no longer applies.
Stephanie turned to Brittany:
“[T]omorrow is primary day for New York’s mayoral race. Crime is the number one issue among Democrats. Those are the people voting. What does that say for the Defund the Police movement? Do people know what it means, do they know what it is, do they know what they want?”
Britney surmised everyone wants to be safe:
“Everybody wants and deserves to be able to walk out of their home, walk freely on the street, play with their child and ensure that everyone is safe while doing so.”
How’s that accomplished? In part, evidently, by un-investing in cops.
But it’s more than that:
“[D]efunding the Police is not just about taking money out of an institution that continues to prove ineffective. It’s also about refunding the people. It’s about ensuring that the services that people need to ensure safe communities from the ground up are actually being funded and resourced to their full capacity.”
And who are the scoundrels attempting to obfuscate the issue? That’d be Republicans:
“I think that there are a lot of police unions and GOP operatives that would like for us to believe that this recent crime wave has everything to do with this idea of defunding the police.”
She’s got news for them:
“[G]uess what, Stephanie? The police haven’t been defunded. You actually look at the 50 largest cities’ law enforcement spending, as a share of the general expenditure in each of those cities, actually rose slightly from 13.6% to 13.7%. And many of the cities that have talked about removing that money, like Minneapolis and Seattle, they’ve actually paused or slowed how they were thinking of moving that money.”
Of course, “slowed” is far different than “reversed.” And a .1% increase in funds may not address, for example, a 20% jump in need.
More on Minneapolis, from last November:
As reported by the Minneapolis StarTribune Monday, officials in the city where George Floyd died beneath the knee of cop Derek Chauvin are considering importing police from nearby jurisdictions to fight the spike in violent crime.
Regardless, Brittany pegged what’s responsible for America’s law enforcement needs: law enforcement.
“So this rise in crime is not the fault of the movement. It’s actually the fault of the police.”
It’s been her side’s “point all along.”
“Why should we keep funding systems and institutions that keep rendering themselves ineffective? We should be talking about gun control, livable wages, fair housing, education – that’s where we should be moving the money to, to ensure truly safe streets.”
Will gun control — the limitation on law-abiding citizens to purchase or possess firearms — help with crime? Will higher wages? And what makes housing fair?
It’s a lot to figure out.
But Brittany Packnett Cunningham seems to be doing the work.
So if you want American to need fewer police — if I understand correctly — #DefundThePolice.
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