This is not good. Peter Moskos, a criminologist who actually spent time in Baltimore as a cop, has some comments on his excellent blog Cop in the Hood prompted by the situation in Chicago. In his area of expertise, as you can tell, he's getting pretty tired of the bullshit about abolishing the police. Moskos:
"If residents want more policing, and I guarantee you most do, don’t listen to out-of-touch people who don’t live there clamoring for less policing in minority neighborhoods against the wishes of the residents.
Of course it can’t be just policing. But policing plays an essential role. A service, even. But policing will never be perfect. It can be better, though. We need to minimize bad policing and promote good policing. But more policing is needed. And it will save lives.
Imagine if this neighborhood had 18 covid deaths this year? If the area (because of demographics) has a COVID fatality rate 50% more than Cook County in general, which it might. And if there are 5,000 people (a big if), there would have been 13 COVID deaths this year. Now if we were talking about COVID, we would be talking about racial disparity, but we’d also be talking about doctors. Of course doctors don’t prevent COVID, but they’re an important part of saving lives.
Permit me to compare COVID to shootings; masks and social distancing to social programs; doctors to police. Right now it’s popular to talk about how to reduce violence without police. That’s a great discussion. Sort of. And there are ways. But not in lieu of police. Public safety without police is like health care without doctors. Yes, preventive care is important. But doctors play a role in that, too. Can I _imagine_ a health care system of diet and exercise and no doctors? Sure. But why would I want to? And what if I have a tumor?
There’s an element of police abolitionists that is a bit like anti-vaxxers. They’re so convinced they’re on to something. And yet so wrong. And so harmful to others. Though anti-vaxxers also put themselves at risk, whereas anti-policers usually theorize from very safe homes.
For most people, a safe neighborhood without much policing is the life they live and see every day. It doesn’t mean everybody has that privilege. It would be like being healthy and telling a sick person, “You don’t need a doctor. Maybe you should try yoga and eating organic?”
Yes, some neighborhoods need more policing that others. Some people need to be policed. And some more than others. Many more people need good policing around them. That is the world we have. And people who live with daily gunshots rightfully expect public agencies to respond.
But that’s where we are with violence and police. There’s more violence and there’s less policing. You could say our health care has failed, as demonstrated by COVID. It doesn’t mean we should #defund hospitals. That’s where the academic discussion is right now with violence and policing. Anything but police. Sure I can “reimagine” public safety without police. But it will be less safe world. This doesn’t mean we can’t _also_ fund programs that don’t involve police. We absolutely should. But most won’t work well without safe streets."