For years, Los Angeles officials have spent more money spending on police at the expense of communities. Homelessness, climate change, jobs, education, transportation–these are all areas where the city could invest. Investments in communities is what drives public safety. Well-resourced communities are safer communities.
More police isn’t the way to more public safety.
More police can actually lead to more crime and distrust of police.
More spending on policing when crime is down doesn’t make sense.
Crime in LA is down 23% percent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before COVID-19, violent crime in LA was down. In January of this year, the Police Chief said it’s “one of the safest times In Los Angeles.” The proposed budget includes $47 million dollars for police overtime–overtime spending should be reserved for a time when there is a demonstrated need for more police not less.
Data shows that rates of violent crime rate have dropped over the past five years even as the number of police officers has declined.
“The Los Angeles Police Protective League, Exposed“
Police effectiveness is based more on what officers do and how they are trained than on how many of them there are.
In 2019, New York made the conscious decision to reduce the number of police and crime continued to go down.
Crime is down. And more police doesn’t equal less crime.
Practices that over police and target specific communities for arrest can breed feelings of distrust in police, making people less likely to report crimes in their communities.
Over policing can create the negative effect of punitive, militaristic policing, which is especially dangerous in communities of color.
More spending on policing means fewer resources available for other public safety strategies that are better for communities.
A bigger policing budget means less investment in community-based drug and mental health treatment, education, and other social institutions that can make communities safer while improving life outcomes for all.
Investment in violence interruption programs that are community-based have had better public safety benefits than more aggressive, arrest-driven policing initiatives.
Instead of spending on police, Los Angeles could support job growth and small business recovery
Over half of Los Angeles workers are now unemployed following massive job losses related to COVID-19. Economists have estimated that 42% of pandemic related layoffs will be permanent.
Instead of spending on police, Los Angeles could support housing subsidies and eviction protection
Even before the pandemic, Los Angeles needed more resources to address its housing crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic will only further rent burden families and dramatically increase homelessness.
Instead of spending on police, Los Angeles could offer free public transportation
Many Angelenos rely on public transit to get around the city.
At a time when Los Angeles has dangerous levels of air quality, rewarding people for using transit and removing cost barriers, improves quality of life for all Angelenos. It also reduces the amount of police presence needed in subway stations as fare evasion would no longer be a crime.