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‘Defund the Police’ Failure Has Minneapolis Residents Taking Matters into Their Own Hands Amid Crime Surge

As the crime rate in Minneapolis continues to rise, residents in some neighborhoods are taking matters into their own hands and raising private money to pay for police patrols that had been eliminated thanks to the defund-the-police movement there. Like many Democrat-controlled big cities, in the wake of riots over George Floyd’s death in police custody in May 2020, Minneapolis went all-in for the defund-the-police movement, under the absurd contention that the police were the problem. Naturally, crime exploded. According to Neighborhood Scout, Minneapolis is a dangerous place. “With a crime rate of 59 per one thousand residents, Minneapolis has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 17,” the site wrote. Further, violent crime increased in 2021, up 32 percent over the year of pandemic lockdowns with murders, assaults, rapes, and grand theft all way up, Axios noted. Despite the rising crime rate, the city’s brilliant officials slashed the budget for the Minneapolis Police Department by an astounding $8 million! The cuts also quashed plans to improve and grow the department as the city grows. But with crime soaring, some neighborhoods are taking advantage of a new program created by the MPD whereby neighborhoods can schedule more police patrols if residents pay for the overtime costs that the city won’t fund. The MPD calls the offering a “buyback” program and consists of a contract between a neighborhood or organization and the department. Once negotiated and the contract is approved by the Minneapolis City Council, the MPD’s officers are then given the option to accept the patrol shifts for overtime pay, according to the Minneapolis Post. The department reported that neighborhoods had gotten together to arrange the contracts that make up about 22 percent of the buyback hours worked by the MPD. The rest of the overtime is contracted to organizations and businesses. The program has been a boon to some neighborhoods. The residents of the wealthy Lowry Hill neighborhood, for instance, were able to raise $210,000 for the extra police patrols. The money will help pay the $107 per hour for the patrols. The cost is no big deal for them, granted. Lowry Hill residents earn an average of six figures a year, according to the Daily Mail. They created a nonprofit titled the “Minneapolis Safety Initiative,” through which the Lowry Hill residents raise $210,000 a year to pay for the extra police patrols. Other areas in Minneapolis are creating similar ventures to help assure their safety in the face of the city council’s defund-the-police policies. In one case, one of the city’s business districts empowered its Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association to begin raising funds for an extra police presence. The group is reportedly set to pay for officers to patrol the Mill District downtown. While it is a good thing that some residents and businesses are able to help bridge the gap of policing left by the woke city council’s defunding measures, the “buyback” program has revealed a stark reality. Despite the left’s claims that they care about the poor and downtrodden, this buyback program reveals that only the wealthy will be able to afford the safety that increased police patrols bring. How many poor neighborhoods can raise another $210,000 outside the taxes they already pay, just to get more safety from their own city police department? AJ Awed, an executive director of neighborhood group the Cedar Riverside Community Council, pointed out how shameful it is that only the rich can afford police patrols in Minneapolis. “I don’t believe safety should be measured or administered based on the economic tax bracket that you’re in,” Awed told the Minneapolis Post. “When it comes to your safety, I don’t think money should be an object but unfortunately that seems to be the reality of the situation.” Elliott Payne, who represents the city’s Ward 1, was also discouraged about the MPD’s buyback program. “I’m of the opinion that everyone who’s a taxpayer should get equal service and I’m not comfortable with wealthier neighborhoods pooling resources to get superior service,” councilmember Payne said, adding, “I would rather see this be managed more equitably as part of a comprehensive staffing model that is driven by actual needs of neighborhoods, not necessarily just the resources of one neighborhood versus another.” Meanwhile, police officers are fleeing the city in droves. Indeed, the Post notes that the department now only counts 564 active-duty officers, despite that the city charter mandates a department of 731 officers based on the city’s census count. Despite mouthing fealty to the defund-the-police movement, though, city officials have begun seeing the error of their woke ways. In 2020, members of the city council were begging residents to join the police force, even in the face of the defund-the-police movement frustrating the city’s safety. And this year, the city council went to the extent of approving an additional $6.4 million in funding for the MPD, even as they claim to continue standing by their dangerous, woke ideas about policing. Whatever happens in the future, it is clear that the defund-the-police movement has had the exact opposite effect of what was intended for the residents of Minneapolis. It has had less effect on the wealthy, but has left the poor and middle classes unprotected and at risk. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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