US city that voted to defund the police is now grappling with 'heightened violent crime'

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A US city once known as ‘Murderapolis’ has re-earned its old nickname after it defunded the police force in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020.

Last year’s murder tally in Minneapolis was just shy of the total killings in 1995, when the city originally earned its grim moniker, CNN reports.

The news outlet says the city is now dealing with ‘heightened violent crime’ and residents are increasingly concerned for their welfare.

The rise in crime has come two years after Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Statistics have been up and down in recent years, with experts claiming the Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on crime.

However, some are now linking the Defund the Police movement as the root of the problem. 

Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy
Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

As the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements picked up steam following Floyd’s death, Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved to slash USD$8 million (AUD$12.2 million, £7.4 million) worth of funding from the force. 

But, despite the city caving to political pressure from activist groups, residents of the ‘Twin Cities’ (Minneapolis and Saint-Paul) reckon that the rise in crime is the fault of police.

Twin Cities resident KG Wilson told CNN that police withdrew from violent neighbourhoods in the wake of Floyd’s murder as people looted and rioted.

“The criminals were celebrating. They were getting rich,” he told CNN.

“They were selling drugs openly.”

Minneapolis resident Paul Johnson, 56, added that crime is so out-of-control that competing drug dealers are literally jockeying for sales at petrol stations.

“You pull up to get gas – they try to sell you drugs and not just three or four, but it’s a bulk of people,” he told CNN.

Black Lives Matter protests were held around the world after Floyd's death, Photo taken in Paris, France. Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy
Black Lives Matter protests were held around the world after Floyd’s death, Photo taken in Paris, France. Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy

“[Police] just let it go on,” former resident Brian Bogan also told CNN.

Bogan moved out of Minneapolis after growing sick of raising his children in an area where parents could never be sure if explosions they could hear nearby were from ‘fireworks or gunshots’.

After Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Police Department lost more than a third of the force.

Bowing to the pressure of the Defund the Police movement, both the budget and morale collapsed, which has led to fewer officers on the street.

As a result, 9-1-1 response times have inflated, according to CNN. They were at 10-11 minutes in May 2020 and have now ballooned out to 17 minutes.

According to local news station KARE11, a pair of real estate agents went as far as investigating the theft of their own work van after police told them the suspects would be ‘too hostile’ to deal with.

Former police officer, Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith of the National Police Association, said it’s the obvious consequence of the visceral reaction to the police force as a whole and their funding.

“It’s no secret that law enforcement … especially in the last two and a half years, has been badly vilified and wrongly vilified,” she told CNN.

“You can’t call an entire profession racist and expect people to just sit back and say, okay, you know, keep piling on.”

Officials in Minneapolis launched Operation Endeavor last week, which is a specialised mission to crack down on crime levels.

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