The “defund the police” cry has been commonplace at Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May. Several city councils in various cities have proposed measures to either divert funding away from police departments or dismantle the law enforcement agencies entirely.
But a poll from Rasmussen Reports, released on Tuesday, found that there is a strong support base for law enforcement and police, even among African-Americans.
About 66 percent of adults said they oppose cutting funding for their police department and divert that money to social services, which has been proposed by leftist activists and Black Lives Matter supporters. Last month, the same survey found that 59 percent of those who were interviewed supported the measure.
The survey found that only about 23 percent “favor defunding the cops where they live,” which is down about four points from last month.
According to Rasmussen, some 57 percent of black Americans oppose defunding the police in their home communities, and for white people, its 69 percent. For other minority groups, 62 percent oppose the measure.
The shift in support comes as violent crime and shootings have surged across numerous metropolitan areas in recent weeks as well as persisting unrest, riots, and vandalism. Cities like Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and St. Louis have all seen spikes in shootings and murders this summer.
Only 12 percent of those who were interviewed believe that defunding the police will lower crime rates, while 61 percent believe that crime is increasing.
In the meantime, President Donald Trump has attempted to portray himself as a law and order candidate just months away from the 2020 election in November.
“We will never, ever defund our police. OK? That I can tell you. We are not defunding police,” Trump said in mid-July. “So, just a terrible thing, but I assume this is going to be a fad. We’ll call it a fad,” the president said.
But some city officials have taken the “defund” calls seriously.
Most of the Minneapolis City Council vowed to disband the local police department and replace it with a new model of public safety, although details about the new agency are not clear.
“The City Council voted today to advance a proposed ballot measure that would ask Minneapolis voters to amend the City Charter to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention and remove the Police Department as a charter department,” the City of Minneapolis wrote in a statement in late June.
“It is time to make structural change,” Minneapolis Council Member Steve Fletcher told The Associated Press at the time in explaining the City Council’s logic behind the move. “It is time to start from scratch and reinvent what public safety looks like.” Both the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, and the city’s police chief oppose the move.