(Roger Nomer/The Joplin Globe via AP) A new study on 2021 homicide trends released by the Council on Criminal Justice found an additional 5 percent rise in homicides (on the heels of a 30 percent increase in 2020) in 22 major American cities. Los Angeles, Louisville, and Washington, D.C., among others, saw homicides increase by more than 10 percent.
Activists, leading media, and politicians continue to pin the homicide wave on economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, but a far more plausible factor is the increasingly dysfunctional criminal-justice system that fails in its fundamental duty to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
Last year, police retirements were up nearly 50 percent and resignations by 18 percent across 200 police departments nationwide. Portland—which, since the summer of 2020, has seen sustained nightly violence in its downtown perpetrated by far-left radicals—now has fewer police officers on the force (789) than at any point in the past 30 years . Mayor Ted Wheeler was previously sympathetic to the national “defund the police” movement but has recently admitted the city’s police-staffing crisis: “There is such a thing as too few officers. . . . I can objectively say we are critically short staffed.”
In Philadelphia , which last year suffered more homicides than in 2014 and 2015 combined, the police department is short about 300 officers after mass departures in the aftermath of the local police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. last fall and the death of George Floyd. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, says of the national staffing shortage, “It is an evolving crisis.”
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