2016 U.S. Presidential Elections: The Circus Is In Full Swing

BenKenobi

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Is there a text somewhere explaining how defunding police will make things any better or how it is supposed to work in practice? I mean, my European understanding would be that if an institution is disfunctional, it usually needs a reform accompanied by throwing money at the institution, not a reform accompanying by starving the institution out. Since with less money you either have to reduce the scope of the activities of the institution or pay less in salaries which translates into having lower quality personnel. And all that. So, yeah, just wondering about the concept.
 

Kobrag

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I guess it's to stop them from buying armoured vehicles, assault rifles and ceramic plated armour outside of specialised units.
Becaue apparently that's currently a thing that happens.

Im more on board with them being stripped of legal immunity for their actions, and everything else is a distraction.
 
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Is there a text somewhere explaining how defunding police will make things any better or how it is supposed to work in practice? I mean, my European understanding would be that if an institution is disfunctional, it usually needs a reform accompanied by throwing money at the institution, not a reform accompanying by starving the institution out. Since with less money you either have to reduce the scope of the activities of the institution or pay less in salaries which translates into having lower quality personnel. And all that. So, yeah, just wondering about the concept.
The reasoning is that what you mention is what happened in the past, and it didn't work. As Kobrag said the police ended up using the extra resources for other things while keeping training programs up just for show. You would also use the resources taken away from the police to set up alternative solutions for situations where the police might not necessarily be the most qualified institution to intervene (e.g., people with severe mental health issues causing a disturbance).

As far as I know, compared to most European nations the US also spends a lot more money on police. Just as a term of comparison, here is a link to an annual budget for the German federal police


at page 22 you can see their 2017 budget, which is of a little over 3 billion euros, while for example just NYPD had a budget of over 5 billion dollars for 2017


Admittedly the bundespolizei is the federal police, which from what I understand is not quite the same thing as the ordinary police for which I wasn't able to find data. But it has a number of employees comparable to those in the NYPD department (around 42000 in both cases when you consider both uniform and civilian staff). As another term of comparison, the 2019 budget for Polizia in Italy was of 6.6 billion euros for around 100k employees (source Wikipedia, so perhaps to be taken with a bit of salt) which seems to be in line with the expenditure for the bundespolizei.
 

Adorno

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New York is an outlier in police spending - and a very big city
As we saw with the demands from CHAZ (or CHOP, as it's now called) there are those who advocate the complete abolishment of police - 100% (as well as imprisonment). Ironically there has now been 4 shootings in 10 days in what is a tiny area with an abandoned police station.

It doesn't sound like there's concensus on what it actually entails. But reallocating resources to social programs and similar to fight crime is certainly part of it. It's also very sensible since police in itself doesn't prevent crime. But without a proper balance, it could go horribly wrong.

The US actually spends a bit less on police compared to the EU average. About 0.7% of GDP compared to 0.9% in the EU (from 0.5% to 1.4%).

 
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New York is an outlier in police spending - and a very big city
As we saw with the demands from CHAZ (or CHOP, as it's now called) there are those who advocate the complete abolishment of police - 100% (as well as imprisonment). Ironically there has now been 4 shootings in 10 days in what is a tiny area with an abandoned police station.

It doesn't sound like there's concensus on what it actually entails. But reallocating resources to social programs and similar to fight crime is certainly part of it. It's also very sensible since police in itself doesn't prevent crime. But without a proper balance, it could go horribly wrong.

The US actually spends a bit less on police compared to the EU average. About 0.7% of GDP compared to 0.9% in the EU (from 0.5% to 1.4%).

Thank you for sharing the data, and yes certainly big cities generate outliers. The US has the unique characteristic of having gigantic cities but also vast parts of the country that are kind of in the middle of nowhere, which tends to paint checkered realities.

That said, I have never been a fan of defining expenses as a percentage of GDP. I would rather see the raw numbers in euros for each state, and then we can all come to our own conclusions. See for example this about why just using GDP can be misleading

.

In my opinion showing how much money was spent to provide police service for X population would be a better indicator. I suppose one could get the GDP of each individual EU country in the link you provide and calculate the actual money spent that way. I can tell though that the Italian police appears to be better funded than the American police from that table, which gave me a good laugh. Anyone who has ever lived both in the US and in Italy for some time will be able to tell you that that's hard to believe, the Italian police is underfunded to the point where they are often unable to do their job (and I am sure that a lot of it has to do with mismanagement but... that would be a lot of mismanagement).
 
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Anthropoid

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Can't wait for the CHAZ to jump the tips of the horseshoe, make a stop at the 3% movement and arrive at the Posse Comitatus destination.
Hard mode: half of your population is on meth, the other half on heroin.
DAMMIT! You still make more sense than every one else I know! :smile:

I'm . . . well . . . stunned and a bit honored that my 2016 election circus thread has lived on for so long. Something tells me that the 2020 is going to be a real humdinger of an "Inversion Festival!"
 

Adorno

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It's of course super complex and would require a Ph.D. in criminology to get an overview of things.
The US is already quite unique and hard to compare to other countries.
Just the fact that about 5% of the male, black population is in prison is extreme. The militarisation of their police is also extraordinary.
The US also has capital punishment which is very expensive (but hopefully it's a relatively small amount).

Factors like crime rates, types of crimes, population density (rural areas vs. cities), immigration, poverty, corruption (reliable statistics), education in the general population and the police specifically, laws, must all be taken into account.
The US also spends a lot on prisons - because they're mostly on private hands - with strong lobbying for long jail sentences.
As crime rates have gone down since the 90's more and more people are put in prison.
 

Anthropoid

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. . . SNIP . . .
As crime rates have gone down since the 90's more and more people are put in prison.

I have no idea of the accuracy or validity of what is being presented in that figure, and given it is from Vox I don't place any basic trust in it. Nonetheless, as a thought exercise . . . What if we were to replace as follows:
Homicide (20x) -> Homicides with Firearms convictions
Motor Vehicle Theft (x/2) -> Assault with Firearms convictions
Burglary (x/5) -> Accidental shooting with firearms (ER entries)
Imprisonment rate (federal and state) -> Firearms confiscations

Would that make more sense from a cause effect relationship to my New Totalitarian Tribalist friends here on the AG boards :wink:
 

kurczak

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That if the graph were showing confiscating firearms (="sending guns to prison") against firearm-related deaths (= "crimes committed") many people would be applauding it as a cause-effect relationship and a proof that gun control works. The more firearms confiscated, the fewer firearm related deaths. The more criminals sent to prison, the fewer crimes committed.
 

Adorno

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Okay. That's not at all how you should read those numbers :smile:

An austerity budget was just agreed to in New York - including slashing funding for the police.
(Subscription needed) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/nyregion/nyc-budget-police.html

Two things are interesting:
1) No mention of using the saved money for social programs or anything for crime prevention.
2) Those criticising the budget think it's too little, and there should be more cuts to the police. But don't even mention the lack of social programs that should come with defunding the police.

So it looks like 'defunding the police' can be used for anything politicians like. Very convenient in a financial crisis...
 

BenKenobi

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Thanks for the answers!

Also, dropping a nice part of this article

The murder of George Floyd is calling the question on 50 years of reform and retreat. Exasperated with the inevitable reversal of each hard-won reform, protesters are now calling for more radical solutions: closing police departments or severely restricting their roles, cutting their budgets, and replacing them with other kinds of services that can deliver safety and emergency response in today’s heavily policed urban communities. There are other debates underway about the ways in which police departments police political protest, and the roles of police unions in electoral politics; but the signal debate is whether to abandon the strategy of piecemeal reform for the wholesale reorganization of policing in the cities of the United States.

There are activists on both sides of this debate. While press attention is focused, as usual, on the most extreme demands — in this case to defund and dismantle police departments — there are activists speaking up for persistence in the longstanding project of gradual reform. These advocates want a revival of the Justice Department’s pattern-and-practice investigations, greater integration of smartphone video into existing mechanisms of police accountability, continued improvement of use-of-force policies, greater respect for procedural justice in police interactions with civilians, and genuine commitment to principles of community policing. These are the kinds of reforms championed by the President’s Commission on 21st Century Policing, empaneled by President Obama but its recommendations dismissed by President Trump.

The crucial disagreement separating the two sides in this debate is over community control. The reform agenda promises to reduce police violence, but it does not remove authority over police policies and strategy from police leaders and elected officials. The activists urging the defunding and dismantling of police want control of public safety resources — money, personnel, and institutions — to move into the hands of the communities that depend on these services.

That language of local control is deeply embedded in the history of American policing, in contrast with the police histories of Europe and the 19th and 20th century colonies of European imperial powers. This is why there are more than 18,000 separate police organizations in the United States, in contrast to the handful of police agencies in most countries, or the several dozen in the federal structures of Brazil, Germany, or India, for example. But for all the talk of local control in the United States, this has never meant local control by those being policed. It has meant local control by local elites including, at various times and places, white slave holders, factory owners, financial and media titans, chambers of commerce, and racist and nativist organizations.

What if this tradition of local control could be claimed by the black and brown residents of working-class and middle-class communities who are most dependent on public police services for their safety and for help in emergencies? This is the question being posed by the movement to dismantle the police organizations that have repeatedly refused to cede that control. There have been experiments here and there with community control in the United States, including in Minneapolis in the 1960s, but never on the scale now being proposed.

Some limited community control, or at least community participation, has been part of the gradual-reform agenda as well, but it has proved elusive in practice. Specifically, community participation in setting police priorities and strategies was among the principal promises of “community policing,” a term of art with many definitions, but usually including officers assigned to the same neighborhoods on a regular basis, out of their cars, engaging constructively with community residents.

The architects of community policing envisioned police and residents meeting regularly and cooperating in the design of solutions to local crime problems, co-producing public safety. In some cities, local community organizers were paid to build and maintain active citizen engagement; in others, local residents were elected to serve on community policing councils. New York City’s only black mayor, David Dinkins, and his black police commissioner, Lee Brown, put community policing at the center of their major reorganization of the city’s police department in 1990. Rather than defund the police, they persuaded voters to impose a tax surcharge to increase police budgets aligned with this new philosophy. Indeed, beyond the United States, the hope that community policing might become a truly participatory form of democratic policing inspired the drafters of South Africa’s 1996 Constitution to require the establishment of Community Policing Forums in every community of the post-apartheid nation.

Perhaps predictably, however, the failure to deliver community control has been the greatest disappointment with the implementation of community policing decade after decade, from New York and Chicago to Johannesburg. A few of the most determined efforts to give community councils a meaningful voice and role in community policing succeeded for as long as three or four years, but the few successes depended on the commitment of particular police and community leaders. Community control in most cases never took hold, and, where it did, it has not lasted. In short, where it was adopted, community policing has gotten a lot of police patrol officers out of their cars and helped some become better problem-solvers. It has helped to reduce crime in some places. Crucially, however, the promise to black and brown communities of joint control over police priorities and strategies has never been fulfilled.

George Floyd’s murder has produced anger and outrage, but also perhaps the greatest chance in fifty years to break the cycle of reform-and-retreat by forcing a meaningful measure of community control. Of the many useful elements included in the reform legislation endorsed by Governor Walz in Minnesota and being considered by the legislature as I write this, the most significant may be the funding for community groups that could act as alternatives to the police. If proposals like this take hold, a new era of community control over public safety and police resources may finally be dawning. Any serious program of community control will bring its own challenges, but power will have shifted in ways that it has never shifted before and the new challenges will be welcomed.