Crime is soaring across North American cities, while city councils and municipal legislators are voting to defund law enforcement. This is the case in Minneapolis, where the George Floyd riots led to the city council removing from the city charter the requirement that the city maintain a police force.
Frightened business owners are now calling for help as businesses are still subjected to vandalism and robbery, but Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct, Inspector Sean McGinty, says help is not on the way. According to CBS Minnesota.
"As far as a long-term plan I don't have one. I have lost 30 percent of my street officers since the end of May. Budget cuts from COVID-19 and an additional 1.5 million from the council in August we have let go 17 CSO's and cancelled a recruit class of 29," he wrote.
Last week, much was made of a Minneapolis city council meeting where some of the most vocal proponents of police defunding complained about increased violent crime in their districts. In response, MPR News ran a "fact check" to say that Minneapolis did not defund it's department.
MPR states instead that the city council proposed that the city charter be amended to remove the requirement to fund a standing police force in favour of something called a Community Safety and Violence Prevention department. The charter commission, in August, said they might want to give this concept more consideration before putting the measure before voters on the November ballot.
"So, it's incorrect to say the police department has been defunded, as in, an overhaul or abolition of MPD as we know it," MPR writes. "But, it does depend how you're defining 'defunded.'"
The city council did pull $1.1 million from the police force and moved it over to the health department where it was intended to fund a force of mediators that would tend to conflicts "and head off further trouble." These people would be called "violence interruptors."
MPR notes that "the amount of money the council diverted is less than a percentage point of the police department's budget."
For Inspector McGinty, those measures and the others he listed cost him 30 percent of his street force, and left him unable to move forward with new recruits.
Business owners have gone public describing daily crimes committed in daylight. "Couple robberies. Two, three robberies in the area, and some break-ins and a couple of crazy stunts," one owner said.
"So they stole our car, stole our wallet, checkbook, everything," another business owner said in an interview, going on to describe how a group of criminals who became violent and took everything.
In the same area, someone opened fire inside a Pizza Hut. The employee who was there has now quit.
"I think the only plan city leadership has is to further decimate its police department. Businesses and people will continue to flee the city. And rightfully so," said the Police Union President, Lt. Bob Kroll.