John Malik
opinion

Police Abolition is a Terrible Idea

Police Abolition is a Terrible Idea
Believe
14
The elimination of police departments, known as the police abolition movement, is ridiculous and devoid of common sense.
opinion
There are a lot of dangerous and violent people The notion of getting rid of the police does not get rid of the problem of violent or mental ill and dangerous people who can harm others.
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Even in cities such as New York, where crime rates have gone down overall during the past few decades, violent crime still remains a daily reality. In fact, from January to August 2020, much of that period when the city was in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city saw a 76% increase in shooting incidents and an 81% increase in shooting victims. Whatever the cause of those numbers, abolishing police would not abolish the thousands of violent criminals across the country. Just to take the example of some of the largest American metropolises, the Los Angeles Police Department reports upwards of 2,000 violent crimes per month; Chicago sees more than 4,000 in a given month—and New York City sees a staggering 7,000+ violent crimes per month. Murders in Chicago and Philadelphia have seen a spike in the last 12 months, with the Windy City seeing a 50% increase from 2019 to 2020. Those reports include crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, and grand larceny. Outside of cities, too, even in rural or suburban areas, armed robbery, grand larceny, sexual assault, and other violent crimes persist. Sexual violence is a huge problem on college campuses across the country, where campus police are not enough to protect students and staff. We have to have actual local authorities to handle those matters and to keep attackers at bay.
10 believers
opinion
The very absence of enforcement will cause people to commit more crimes Officers' function as a crime deterrent is just as important as their function to capture criminals.
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Numerous studies have found a correlation between a larger number of police officers on the force and a reduction in violent crime. When it comes to violent crime in major cities, a 2018 article in the Review of Economics and Statistics found that every $1 spent on additional police forces generated $1.63 in social benefits. This conclusion, which used data from multiple cities across 50 years, found that the resulting social benefits were mainly a consequence of reducing murders. Research has also shown that just perception of getting caught by police for certain is a bigger deterrent than any threats of punishment. Given the rates of recidivism, or repeat offenders, prison time does not seem to be a good deterrent in and of itself. Another study—this one from 2005— found that the mere presence of visible police in a public place was enough to deter crime. That is their biggest benefit to society: simply existing. Foreign terrorist attacks are prevented because the country shored up intelligence agencies, the military, and border patrol agencies. These men and women often do 'invisible' work and stop not only enemies from carrying out plots but thinking long and hard before even plotting. The same holds true for local police departments. If more police means less crime, then it would stand to reason that the absence of police would encourage those with a propensity to commit crimes to act.
12 believers
opinion
A world where people are fending for themselves would be terrifying The most vulnerable in our society need a professional police force to protect them, not vigilantes.
Without the police, people would be forced to defend for themselves—and society could descend into chaos. A professional, well-funded police force ensures we have properly trained police officers to keep order in communities across the country. They are held to the law in a way a civilian or unorganized defense would not be. There are rules both governing what police can do and what police departments can and should do, to protect everyone in question from harm, safety and labor violations, and dangerous criminals. Communities may not need police officers for issues involving the mentally ill, domestic disputes, or small matters like a cat stuck in a tree. But, it does not mean the community should get rid of the police force all together or even take essential money away from it. It is also important to remember that while a police force cannot solve all social ills, it can and does provide a community with a sense of safety, that their tax dollars are being used to look out for the collective good. Police officers can serve as role models for young people in a community and a stable presence in changing communities that need stability and organization to weather economic downturn, rapid real estate development, or natural disasters. Without a professionally screened and trained police force, so many people are at risk of being taken advantage of by private citizens offering 'protection for pay' in communities, a problem that only exacerbates poverty and a lack of safety in a neighborhood.
9 believers
opinion
Wealthy people would just rely on private security. Even low income communities deserve safety and security
A lack of police could further deepen existing socioeconomic inequalities. Wealthy Americans would likely just hire their own private security from firms like Pinkerton, and wealthy gated communities could even hire their own private police force. They could potentially even use their private security as a militia to cause further violence or conduct personal vendettas. Middle-class and working-class Americans, meanwhile, would be forced to fend for themselves. Without the protection of publicly-funded police officers, the average American would be left without protection and further at the whims of the wealthiest among us.
4 believers
opinion
It could lead to a rise in tribalism and mob violence Police provide a neutral party looking out for the law-abiding community as a whole.
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Communities, neighborhoods, and even gangs might take it upon themselves to dole out their own form of justice. Without the police, the U.S. could revert to a Wild West scenario, in which people round up posses to carry out vigilante justice. This kind of vigilante violence would not only be terrifying—it could further increase division between Americans. As people draw lines around their immediate communities, tribalism might reemerge, where Americans identify more with a neighborhood or a group of people than with the nation at large. Seattle has already seen a glimpse of what this mob violence might look like. When armed protesters took over the Capitol Hill section of the city, one business owner—Faizel Khan, the proprietor of a coffee shop—described unchecked violence and destruction of property. When he and others called the police, no one came. Khan was forced to seek the permission of the armed protesters just to enter his own coffee shop. “They barricaded us all in here,” he told the New York Times. “And they were sitting in lawn chairs with guns.”
4 believers
opinion
There’s also the effort of solving crimes and apprehending suspects This service requires resources, training, and authority only a central police force can have.
Conducting complex criminal investigations is a major aspect of law enforcement—and one that police are uniquely suited for. Without government-funded crime labs, forensic scientists, detectives, and the rules and regulations making sure all these processes and procedures are done in a consistent manner, far fewer crimes would be solved. Handling of evidence is even governed by rules and regulations, which do not apply to non-government funded police forces. Private police and detectives do not have access to the same technology or bank of experts as central police either. Testimony in courts from private detectives also does not carry the same weight as official police department employees.
12 believers
opinion
Not all criminals are apprehended immediately, and a lack of officers would lead to chaos Their main function is enforcing the law.
Many criminals flee the scene of the crime and are not apprehended immediately. Especially for crimes such as burglary where there might not be witnesses, it can take weeks or even months to track down a criminal. This is even truer for highly intelligent serial criminals. Serial rapists or murderers often continue committing crimes for years, and only a concentrated effort from the police can stop them. Overall, on average the police make upwards of 10 million arrests annually.
8 believers
opinion
The process of solving a crime often requires expertise and experience Without a central force part of the government there would be no regulations on the investigative process and would result in less solved crimes.
Law enforcement are uniquely qualified to solve crimes. The average police officer undergoes at least 647 hours of basic training. This is on top of training officers and detectives must undergo at each stage of their careers as well as working with forensic scientists, lawyers, and other experts from who they learn during the course of investigations. In some cases, it can take as long as five to six years to become a fully-fledged police officer. Much of that training teaches police the unique skills and intricate science involved in solving crime, including crime scene handling and the detection of clues. Other branches of law enforcement—such as the FBI or the CSI—undergo even more intense and specialized training that give them the know-how to solve crimes. Untrained civilians are simply not capable of doing what law enforcement is trained to do.
12 believers
opinion
Non-violent crimes can be just as harmful to innocent people as violent crimes There is no such thing as a victimless crime.
Police do not just monitor violent crimes, they also play an important role in keeping people safe from what could be called 'victimless' climes like vandalism, looting, non-lethal DUI citations, trespassing, petty theft, or public disturbance violations. They also police cybercrimes and identity theft, which can have long-lasting negative impacts on people's lives. Police help 'invisible victims' who are often vandalized or looted small business owners, local government officials, city budgets, and the sense of safety and security in the community. Rights to privacy and property are important to police as well and allow people in the community to feel better. Police officers also can stop petty thefts from neighborhood businesses just by their presence, they can stop and prevent graffiti on public property which could cost taxpayers money to clean up, and they can serve as an important first stop for people the victims of cybercrimes when the criminals are often hidden.
8 believers
opinion
They conduct many functions that are not crime-related Abolishing police would leave communities lacking important services.
Police and sheriff departments, particularly in underfunded or rural areas, often serve as more than just crime busters. Police officers can be important role models for children in a community by going to speak at schools and teaching them early about the law and what safe communities look like. They can serve as a resource for key administrative functions so City Halls and mayors' offices can focus on other substantive matters. Police officers are also there to assist district attorneys with law enforcement and bringing justice to victims of crimes. But on a more personal level, police can do welfare checks on the elderly or disabled members of the community, making them feel less alone and ensuring they are healthy for family members or friends concerned.
10 believers
opinion
They also help foster a sense of community Their presence can offer a sense of safety
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Police officers' presence in communities, at coffee shops and neighborhood stores, and talking to students in schools all add to a sense of safety for parents, children, and members of that community. In the absence of other infrastructure, police can rescue cats from trees, be a mentor to troubled youth, or serve as a deterrent from criminal elements entering a community. Police chiefs often have to play the role of community liaison as well, bridging gaps between law enforcement and citizens to better understand each other. Defunding could cut the workforce and reduce their ability to focus on this crucial aspect of building relationships. Without a police or sheriffs' department, a community may feel like it is underfunded and unprotected, forcing many residents to relocate to surrounding areas and collapsing a local economy, businesses, schools, and daily life. Abolishing police or drastically defunding a police force will also mean deteriorating the relationship between a city government and its residence who pay for it through their taxes.
4 believers
opinion
They conduct rescue operations and other community functions
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They conduct search and rescue operations in kidnapping cases or when children wander off, do welfare checks on the elderly and mentally ill, and can help remove vulnerable people from situations of domestic violence in their homes. Violent crime is usually defined as homicide, robbery, rape and aggravated assault and actually takes up only a small portion of a police officer's on-shift time. Defunding police would likely lead to more of their other, community-based work taking a hit in addition to putting the community at risk from these violent crimes. Several cities from New Haven, New Orleans, Sacramento, and Seattle have reported that the vast majority of 911 calls involving police have not been violence-related. In fact, only about 4% of a police officer's on duty time is spent involving violent crime. Approximately half of their time is spent responding to non-criminal calls and traffic duty.
4 believers
The majority of Americans don't want to abolish them Most people want and need some police presence in their communities.
According to a recent survey, most Americans do not support the idea of taking money away from law enforcement - especially because they realize it could lead to an increase in crime. The alternatives to policing do not foster a sense of safety for most Americans, despite race or geographic location. While nearly 60% of Americans think police treat white people better than people of color, they still think reform - not abolishment - is the answer to the policing issue. The majority of Americans support body cameras, warning systems for problematic officers, and psychological training rather than just getting rid of the police all together. The majority of Americans want a well-trained police department rather than private or vigilante law enforcement patrolling their communities.
5 believers
Even Black Americans don't want this Police are there to protect everyone.
The protests against police brutality began after the death of George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis resident who had been arrested for use of counterfeit money. A string of other Black people who had allegedly been killed by the police like Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Breonna Taylor were also discussed at protests. However, the majority of Black Americans do not support defunding the police. They support reforming it through restructuring the existing system, more close monitoring of officers' behavior at the first sign of possible problems, and banning officers from using chokeholds and strangleholds - none of which require taking money away from police departments. Black Americans want safer communities and better relationships with the police but understaffed departments or cuts to community-based outreach programs could hinder all of that.
3 believers
Editor
Sources
Police abolition: A curated collection of links by The Marshall Project