During his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden vowed to address rising crime rates. To meet that goal, he’s asking Congress to approve more than $32 billion in new spending to support law enforcement efforts. To put it simply, the president appears to be trying to refund the police – but will it be enough?
The White House’s 2023 budget proposal includes about $20.6 billion for the next fiscal year for Justice Department spending on federal law enforcement, according to a recent Axios report, which notes that it would also “mandate $30 billion in new spending over the next decade on a variety of programs to expand law enforcement and crime prevention.” Among other items, the proposal would double funding for community policing through the COPS Hiring Program and add $500 million for violence intervention. It would also pay for 300 new deputy marshals and other personnel and add funds for agencies to trace firearms picked up at crime scenes.
In his State of the Union address this month, Biden said, “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training.”
This move is one of several designed to distance the Democratic Party from the “Defund the Police” movement, during which, progressive activists successfully pressured cities to slash their law enforcement budgets and fomented a tide of anti-police sentiment across the country. A record number of officers working in major cities resigned, and crime rates rose precipitously.
Many blame the “Defund the Police” movement for becoming a primary contributor to the uptick in violence in cities like Chicago, Austin, and Baltimore. Indeed, most of the victims of this increase were black Americans – the very people progressives claimed to protect.
Moderate Democrats, like Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), vocally rejected the push to decrease police activity. The election of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who ran on a “law and order” campaign, was largely seen as a repudiation of the demonization of police that the far-left perpetuated.
While Biden’s supposed dedication to supporting police might seem welcome news to those living in crime-blighted cities, the hard truth is that it will likely do little to combat rising crime rates. Efforts to safeguard civilians are mostly under the purview of local governments. Mayors have far more of an impact on crime than presidents, and this fact is not lost on everyday citizens; Adams’ election seems to support this idea.
But most of the cities with the highest crime rates are run by Democrats, who have been soft on crime over the past few years. Efforts to address the matter are largely hampered by “woke” district attorneys like San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin and New York City’s Alvin Bragg, who have refrained from prosecuting certain crimes. These officials will pose a challenge to leaders like Mayor Adams. It matters little if a city arrests more criminals if progressive DAs are just going to let them go without prosecution.
And no amount of federal spending courtesy of Mr. Biden will fix that problem.
~ Read more from Jeff Charles.