Crime & Safety

A major⁠i⁠⁠t⁠y of Black Amer⁠i⁠cans suppor⁠t⁠ fund⁠i⁠ng ⁠t⁠he pol⁠i⁠ce

By: Gabriel Nadales / April 14, 2023

Gabriel Nadales

National Director, Our America

Crime & Safety

April 14, 2023

For several years now, Americans have been told that the way to improve the way the police interact with Black Americans is to defund the police. Activist Mariame Kaba, a key proponent of abolishing the police, argues that fewer police officers on the street means fewer interactions with the public and, therefore, fewer opportunities for them to hurt Black Americans.

While some politicians have tried to merely cut police budgets, prominent politicians like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocassio Cortez push further through such proclamations as “Defunding police means defunding police.”

With many prominent activists and politicians who want to abolish the police to, as they claim, protect Black Americans, a question should be asked — is this what Black Americans want?

In short, no.

In 2021, a Pew Research Center survey found that 38% of Black Americans want more police funding in their area, while 38% want funding to stay the same. That means that a combined 76% of Black Americans want the police to be funded at the same or higher levels than they currently are. Echoing these numbers is a national survey commissioned by Our America which found that 75% of Americans want the police to be fully funded.

The reason a majority of Americans support the police and want them to be fully funded is simple – Americans understand the clear connection between law enforcement, or lack thereof, with rising crime. 

Take Albuquerque, New Mexico for example. While their city did not directly defund the police, in 2021, the police department was understaffed by about 200 police officers or about 16.7% of the police department. 

This understaffing is the same as if the city had cut the officer’s funding by a similar percentage. With fewer police officers, the city predictably experienced more violent crime, setting an unfortunate record of 110 homicides in the city in 2021. That record was broken in 2022 with an all-time high of 120 murders.

But, Albuquerque is just one example of the direct connection between having an inadequately funded and staffed police department and crime. Even those who formerly advocated for cuts can’t help but notice. One of San Francisco’s supervisors, Hillary Ronen, fought to defund the police in 2020 but recently pleaded for more police in her district after a severe uptick in crime. The city has seen a 20% increase in homicide when compared to last year. 

Cities from Los Angeles to New York that defunded the police in 2020 saw their funding return after crime predictably rose within their communities. Politicians just couldn’t argue with the crime that left their communities more broken than they ever had been.

Supporting our law enforcement is an incredible endeavor – Americans from all backgrounds understand that. And, we at Our America echo that sentiment.

This is why we are fighting to ensure that police departments across the country are fully funded, equipped, and trained to better protect all members of their communities.