On June 5th, the Washington DC mayor unveiled a statement, painted down the street leading to the White House, “Black Lives Matter.” Within 24 hours, BLM activists responded with their message: “Defund the police.”
This slogan caught on rapidly among tens of thousands of people protesting police brutality in the US. The reasoning for the development of these actions by the people has come by the oppression affecting many communities.
When it comes to social inequality, defunding the police would be a significate change since more money would be distributed throughout Homeless services, health, housing, and youth and community development.
A city budget, a county budget, a state budget, a national budget are all markers of what our societies are prioritizing, and a lack of even distribution will cause an un-equality in policing. The US spends $100B every year on policing.
Most of which come from local municipalities. (cccnewyork, “City Budget”). New York City, for example, appropriated $5,9B last year to the police department. (ibid).
For comparison, the City of New York allocated $2,9B for Homeless services, $1,9B for health, $1,3B for housing, $988M for youth and community development, and $382M into job programs. (ibid).
The disparities are huge, and echoes in cities across the country. In Chicago, where the policing budget is $1,7B. (ibid).
Nearly twice the budget of the Fire Department, department of transportation, public library, and public health combined.
When investigated, will it show the deeply de-prioritized proving people their basic needs. Instead, they have been over prioritizing punishing human beings.
The emphasis on policing in the US has led to over-policing and under-policing all at once.
The police arrest 10 million people in a year. (ibid). The vast majority of those arrests, especially in black poor neighborhoods, are for minor offenses, like drug possession or drinking in public.
That form of heavy-handed approach is over-policing, but when it comes to violent crimes, and the rate of police arrest are incredibly low, that’s called under-policing, which leaves communities of color underserved.
The repercussions of prioritizing the police over other services can also be seen at schools in the US. 1,7 million students are in schools with police, but no counselors.