In a sharp reversal from their 2020 commitment to defund their “racist” police departments, liberal mayors across the country have discovered unprecedented increases in crime in their cities and are announcing their intent to increase police funding and get tough on criminals. Last year, riding the national wave of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests over the supposedly racially-motivated death of a black criminal named George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer, liberal politicians demanded that police budgets be sharply cut, and that departments end proactive policing especially in high-crime urban neighborhoods. The Sun Times reports that last year Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot allowed over 600 officers to be cut from the Chicago PD. Now after two years of record breaking homicides in her city, she proposes adding $189 million to the police budget. Responding to the BLM demand, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced plans to cut $120 million from the police department budget last summer. The New York Post now reports she has reversed course, making an emergency request for more funding of the SFPD. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has also reversed course and is now against the cuts to police that she supported last year. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi is acknowledging an “absolutely outrageous” crime spike she did not acknowledge last week, last month or last year.
What the hell happened? Violent crime has been increasing for several years, especially in big cities. Last year while we saw the largest single-year national increase in homicides in recorded history, and commercial burglary, auto break-ins and fatal drug overdoses were also increasing significantly, we heard nothing about the crime issue from these people. What happened was that in New York, Virginia, and Seattle threw out pro-criminal politicians. In Minneapolis voters rejected a ballot measure to defund the police. These were hard core liberal strongholds, where politicians supporting the BLM agenda lost their jobs.
Among the other liberal big city mayors who have reversed course are Atlanta’s Keisha Bottoms, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Portland’s Ted Wheeler, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. It is as if they all got the same memo last week. Hundreds of mostly black lives were lost or ruined because of crime while these Mayors were bowing to BLM and the media by cutting police budgets and calling cops racists. Does anybody truly believe that the newfound concern these politicians have for crime victims and support for police is sincere? Would you bet a child’s life on it?
The real problem in many of these cities is that laws reducing sentences enacted in their states and progressive district attorneys who under-charge or refuse to charge the criminals in their counties control most of the criminal justice system. While Lori Lightfoot and London Breed are now proclaiming their support for a tougher approach to crime, the elections of Kim Foxx and Chesa Boudin, the top prosecutors in Chicago and San Francisco, were financed by New York billionaire George Soros to prevent criminals from going to jail or prison. If these mayors are really interested in restoring safety to their cities, they will lead campaigns to overturn weak sentencing laws and replace progressive district attorneys.
I am not holding my breath.