‘Defund The Police’ Efforts Losing Traction After Crime Spike

A number of cities that attempted to reduce police funding in the aftermath of the George Floyd riots have quietly reversed course. The impact of increased crime and decreased public trust may be a lesson the public will consider in next year’s elections.

A community organization blamed a significant spike in crime in West Oakland, California on the efforts of left-wing activists. Seneca Scott, who founded Neighbors Together Oakland, said that the “defund movement was a dismal failure.” 

Scott said that “the reason that Oakland is not safe and livable is because of the failed policies of our neo-progressives who have come to dominate our local government.”

The activist described business failures and safety issues for residents, calling it a “dangerous doom loop.”

“The luxury politics of our elite who don’t live with the consequences of their policy is absolutely destroying our city,” Scott said.

Oakland’s issues are part of a wider problem facing the Bay Area. Both San Francisco and Oakland have seen a sharp increase in crime over the last several years. 

Oakland faces the most violent crime, with almost 500 homicides over the last five years. In the second week of July, the city reported 50 burglaries, 94 assaults and almost 150 motor vehicle thefts.

In 2021, the city council passed approximately $20 million in budget cuts to the Oakland Police Department. Budget cuts and anti-police rhetoric dominated the city’s political discourse. The same year found the highest number of homicides in 15 years.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) said that her city’s focus on defunding the police “went too far and got convoluted.”

In late 2021, San Francisco’s government faced a similar reckoning. Mayor London Breed (D) ordered a crackdown on increasing crime in the city.

“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” the mayor said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement.