Over the last week, following the May 25 police custody killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, communities nationwide have faced calls from critics to disband police agencies or redirect funding from law enforcement operations to community development programs.
Detroit, according to a report, has seen this decade an uptick in crime because of defunding the city’s police department.
The city cut back its police force and funding during a historic bankruptcy in 2014. Funding for the police department has fallen 20 percent in the last six years. Starting salary is $40,000 a year. Wages for cops were cut 10 percent and have never recovered, accounting for inflation. Health benefits for retired cops were stopped and pension payments postponed.
The department didn’t immediately return Fox News’ email and phone requests for comment.
Supporters say the “defund the police” movement isn’t about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the U.S. need, like housing and education.
State and local governments spent $115 billion on policing in 2017, according to data compiled by the Urban Institute.
But in Detroit, gutting police department budgets has helped a downward spiral.
“We don't have enough police as it is,” said Rochelle Jones, a working mother of two. “People are acting the fool out here, and now you know the police aren't going to be coming around this summer with all that's going on. So what are the children supposed to do.”
During 80 days of the coronavirus lockdown, 18 children were shot in Detroit.
In the city, there have been 100 homicides so far this year, a 25 percent spike over last year, and there have been 271 non-fatal shootings, an increase of 30 percent.
The crime is a way of life that most residents just deal with as a normal.
India Williams was shot just over five years ago. “All I want from the man who shot me is an apology,” said India, now 12.