Poll: 75% of Americans Believe Defunding Police Has Contributed to Rising Violent Crime

Activists, local politicians and families of those killed by the police hold a rally in front of City Hall to demand that the New York City Council vote against a budget that doesn't make enough cuts to the police department on June 29, 2021 in New York City.(Photo by Spencer …
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Roughly 75 percent of registered voters believe defunding police departments is either a “major” or “minor” reason for rising violent crime in the United States, a new Morning Consult/Politico poll found.

The survey, conducted on Feb. 5-6 with 2,005 registered voters and a ±2 percentage point margin of error, found that nearly half — 49 percent — think defunding police departments is a “major reason” for rising violent crime. Twenty-six percent believe cutting funds is a minor reason, and a quarter of those polled do not think defunding police departments have contributed to rising violent crime at all.

The survey results come as Democrats largely back away from the “Defund the Police” movement — polling and overall public sentiment have revealed that slashing police budgets in the name of “equity” and subsequent rising crime, usually in poorer and already vulnerable neighborhoods, is wildly unpopular with voters as the midterms approach.

The Democrat Party, corporate media, and President Joe Biden, not including far-leftists like Rep. Cori Bush (D-MI), in recent weeks, have disowned the very movement they promoted during the summer of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protests and riots. At the time, far-left activists demanded the defunding of police departments across the United States, with several big-city Democrat mayors and city councils capitulating to their demands.

Democrats in some cities allowed protesters to storm and burn police precincts as a form of “racial reckoning,” and mayors slashed budgets by the millions, often eradicating positions and closing specialized programs. Many of these cities were already struggling to recruit — an issue which has increased drastically, only to be exacerbated by vaccine mandates.

Since then, “bail reform” executed by far-left (often George Soros-backed) prosecutors has tanked police morale even further, as repeat offenders are let out onto the streets to perpetrate more crimes. In New York, for example, 4-in-10 criminal suspects freed by “bail reform” are rearrested, per state records. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed bail reform measures into state law that allows suspects accused of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, child sex crimes, and making threats of terrorism to walk free from jail without ever having to post bail.

As a solution, 69 percent of poll respondents believe increasing funding for police departments will decrease the rate of violent crime “a lot” or “some.” Only 22 percent do not think funding would decrease crime in the U.S., and 10 percent have no opinion. Conversely, 68 percent said decreasing funding to police departments “would not decrease crime in the U.S.” Only 7 percent believe it would decrease crime a lot, and 13 percent think it would lower it some. 

Democrats and Biden have shifted their strategy. The president last week was blaming guns for the crime wave in Democrat-run cities. Despite this tactic, which is arguably overplayed, many of those polled do not think new gun control laws will decrease violent crime. According to the survey, 30 percent believe “stricter gun laws” would decrease violent crime “a lot,” and 21 percent believe it would lower it “some,” and 40 percent do not think stricter laws would impact the crime rate. Slightly more voters believe enforcing current gun laws would be more effective. Half of the voters do believe there are “too many guns on our streets,” which perpetuates violence.

Eighty-six percent of those polled believe “lack of adequate funding for mental health programs” is either a major or minor reason for increasing violent crime. Twenty-six percent believe crime would “decrease a lot” if more social workers were hired to help police “defuse situations with people having emotional problems,” and 37 percent say it would “decrease some.” Additionally, more than 70 percent of voters think the “increasing funding to build economic opportunities in poor communities” would decrease violent crime a lot or some. 

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter.

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