How “Defunding Police” Would Really Impact Black Communities

Demonstrators holding "Defund The Police" sign
Shiavon Chatman
May 21, 2021

America spends billions of dollars on police annually. Why should we reallocate some police department funds to other community needs? 

First, the majority of police funding – which comes out of our taxes – goes directly to officer’s salaries, not to actually protecting and serving communities. That money could be better distributed elsewhere! But where?

New York City, for example, spends more on police than its Departments of Health, Homeless Services, Housing Preservation, and Youth Development COMBINED! And those types of agencies are proven to reduce crime and poverty – but policing is NOT.

Police spending has been going up – while education funding has been going down, especially for Black neighborhoods. We could reallocate some police funds to disenfranchised school districts!

Some have called for reform instead of defunding. Is reform a better solution?

No. Attempts at reform – like body cameras and facial recognition – have actually INCREASED targeting of Black people. Police reform just does not work. A system built on white supremacy is beyond reform – police officers were originally slave patrollers, after all.

Heavy policing doesn’t lower crime or increase safety. But resources like schools, mental health facilities, and anti-poverty programs DO – and could flourish in Black neighborhoods with funding. We should be the ones to determine where our tax dollars go, so learning the truth is essential.

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