Has Police Reform Resulted In Thousands Of Crime And Accident Victims? The following article has been written by Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. It includes editorial content which is the opinion and story of the writer.
Fear of crime is at record highs. Nearly 43,000 people died in U.S. traffic crashes in 2021, the highest number in 16 years. There are an additional 160,000 violent crimes since 2014. People and businesses are leaving cities. Economies are being destroyed along with job losses. It’s clear that urban African Americans, Hispanics, and children are hardest hit.
How much is this is due to unrelenting negative media coverage of the law enforcement profession and tens of thousands of cops leaving? How much of this are cops reluctant to be proactive?
At what point do rising violence and fatal accidents become a public health and civil rights issue? Black Americans had the highest traffic fatality rate per mile traveled per Harvard University.
Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.
Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of directing award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Former Adjunct Associate Professor of criminology and public affairs-University of Maryland, University College. Former advisor to presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. Former advisor to the “McGruff-Take a Bite Out of Crime” national media campaign. Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University. Former police officer. Aspiring drummer.
Author of ”Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization” available at Amazon and additional booksellers.
Violent crimes are increasing, especially in urban areas. Fatal accident victims are growing fast. Fear of crime is at recorded levels.
Some suggest that it’s due to police reform and the ceaseless criticism of all in law enforcement. The articles-research below support that claim.
Riots costing billions of dollars in insurance claims, protests, and endless negative publicity directed toward “all” cops have resulted in tens of thousands of police officers leaving the job per the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a multitude of media reports.
According to conversations with police officers, those remaining have made a decision not to engage in proactive policing, and most of that proactivity are traffic stops.
Some (many?) police officers are also not engaging in proactive street stops while violent crime rises in urban areas. As one union representative stated, “You can’t lose your job or be indicted if you’re not proactive. Were giving critics what they demanded,” (paraphrase).
Proactive policing is the only modality proven to reduce crime based on a review of hundreds of studies funded by the US Department of Justice. As we progress through rising urban crime, different strategies are being tried from violence interrupters to social programs. Unfortunately, none of these efforts have a strong (methodologically correct-replicated) research base as to lowering crime with the exception of nurses-social workers dealing with young at-risk children.
But so many of the incidents involving police use of force stem from proactive activities resulting in immense criticism, not just of the officers involved, but all in law enforcement. Getting out of a patrol vehicle and confronting suspicious suspects (when you have the legal right to do so) can be dangerous to both officers and suspects. The data is clear that many under suspicion have mental health issues or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol which makes confrontations perilous.
There are data and media reports showing that police proactivity has significantly declined to the point where the modality has almost disappeared in some areas. Most proactive contacts are traffic stops.
If we have discarded the most effective form of crime control and fatal accident reduction, and if tens of thousands of police officers have left their jobs, the impact would show up in national statistics.
Op/Ed: Police Officer Responses To “Cops Quitting Are The Unqualified Taking Their Place?”
National Public Radio: Traffic Citations Down By 86 Percent
America’s roads are more dangerous, as police pull over fewer drivers. American roads are deadlier than they were before the pandemic and many are looking at changes in police traffic enforcement as a cause.
Deaths spiked during 2020, and the fatality rate — deaths per million miles traveled — is still about 18% higher now than in 2019.
“It is, unfortunately, an American phenomenon,” says Jonathan Adkins, CEO of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Other Western countries did not see the same sustained increase in traffic deaths, and he thinks one important difference is a pullback in policing, following the George Floyd protests of 2020.
“Why do many of us drive dangerously on the roads? Because we think we can get away with it. And guess what — we probably can right now in many places in the country,” says Adkins. “There’s not enforcement out there, they’re hesitant to write tickets. And we’re seeing the results of that.”
Carol Cummings is convinced that’s what’s happening. She’s a retired police officer who lives in Seattle, where she’s noticed an increase in dangerous driving.
“I can’t think of the last time that I have seen a police car with a motorist pulled over on the side of the road that was not involved in something like an accident,” Cummings says.
“But you should take the time to find out if there’s facts to back it up,” she says, so she requested traffic stops data from the city. The result: Traffic citations by police are down about 86%, compared to 2019.
“A lot of that is decisions made by the officer, based on staffing levels and based on call loads,” says Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz.
He says his department lost hundreds of officers after the George Floyd protests of 2020, and one thing he had to cut were dedicated traffic details. Patrol officers now spend upwards of 70% of their shifts responding to more urgent calls for service.
“Some of the officers don’t feel like they have enough, adequate time to do the traffic enforcement,” Diaz says.
Similar shortages are hampering police departments around the country.
National Public Radio: Traffic Deaths Highest in 16 Years
Nearly 43,000 people died in U.S. traffic crashes in 2021, the highest number in 16 years with deaths due to speeding and impaired or distracted driving on the rise.
The 2021 final numbers, released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, confirmed earlier estimates by the agency showing a 10.5% increase in deaths over 2020. That’s the highest number since 2005 and the largest percentage increase since 1975.
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Statista: Violent Crimes
Corresponding with the protests and riots regarding police use of force, violent crimes have increased from 2014 (1,153,000) to 2021 (1,313,000) by 160,000 victims. Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, most violent crime is not reported. Per the data below, citizen wait times from the loss of police officers are lowering the number of reported crimes.
Pew: Children and Teens Killed by Gunfire in the US Increased 50%
The number of children and teens killed by gunfire in the United States increased 50% between 2019 and 2021, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest annual mortality statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2021, 46% of all gun deaths among children and teens involved Black victims, even though only 14% of the U.S. under-18 population that year was Black. Homicide was the largest single category of gun deaths among children and teens in 2021, accounting for 60% of the total that year.
Crime in America: Urban African Americans Are Being Impacted Most
It’s clear that urban African Americans, Hispanics, and children have the highest rates of violent victimization depending on the jurisdiction.
Crime in America: Big Increases in Urban Violence
Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers For Disease Control, Gallup, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and multiple additional sources, violence is increasing dramatically in urban areas. Fear of crime is at an all-time high. Compared to 2019 midyear figures, the same cities in total have experienced a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults per the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
Op/Ed: Recognizing Mass Shooters And Potential Attacks In Public Places, Federal Research
CNN: A Record Number Of People Are Dying From Firearm Injuries
A record number of people are dying from firearm injuries in the US, and new research suggests that shootings are becoming more lethal, too. Most victims of fatal firearm injuries die at the scene of the shooting, before they can be treated in a health care setting. But that has become increasingly common over the past two decades.
About 57% of firearm fatalities in 2021 occurred at the scene of the shooting, up 9% since 1999, according to a research letter published Wednesday in the JAMA Surgery journal. For this analysis, researchers used data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and excluded suicides and other self-inflicted firearm injuries.
Nearly 49,000 people died from firearm injuries in the US in 2021, CDC data shows – an unprecedented surge of about 23% over two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Axios: Do Federally Court-Ordered Police Reform Agreements Increase Violence?
Most police agencies in recent federally court-ordered reform agreements saw violent crime rates skyrocket immediately, according to an Axios examination of departments under consent decrees since 2012.
The increases in violent crime rates — in one case by 61% — suggest that there can be unintended consequences, at least in the short term, to the policing changes many Americans have demanded in the year since George Floyd’s death.
First, the law enforcement profession accepts accountability. Some of the negative media coverage was deserved. Officers who engage in questionable, disrespectful, or illegal activity need to be held accountable. Being responsible for your behavior is taught in every police academy in the country.
But the endless attacks on “all” police officers was destructive. People become cops because they want to make a positive difference in the lives of people. During every shift, police officers save lives, find lost children, respond to domestic violence incidents, initiate victim services, and make residents safer. Until you’ve crawled into a vehicle with multiple children and adults bleeding profusely due to an accident, it’s hard to understand the value of policing.
The paradox is that law enforcement is one of America’s most respected and highly rated professions. Per the US Department of Justice, out of 54 million police-citizen contacts, only two percent involve the use of “or” the threat of force. The overwhelming majority of citizens, regardless of demographics, rate their encounters with law enforcement highly.
Are there issues with law enforcement? Yes, and they need to be addressed and rectified. Too many African Americans have issues with respect. We must dedicate ourselves to the equal treatment of all Americans regardless of who they are.
But there comes a point where police “reformers” (and way too many in the media) have attacked the entire profession relentlessly creating an environment where recruitment is down significantly and tens of thousands of officers have left or are in the process of leaving.
The result of all this? Arrests are plummeting. No arrests mean more victimization.
Because of so many police officers leaving, wait times for those responding are increasing dramatically which has a downward impact on crimes reported to law enforcement.
I am aware of spouses and families insisting that their officer loved ones leave policing. “Get out, and get out now,” is a refrain coming from spouses. “If they are going to treat you and all the good officers like sh.., why stay?”
Progressive critics and some reporters probably thought they were protecting marginalized people. The collective evidence indicates that they may have massively harmed those communities.
Critics may have prompted the death and injury of tens of thousands of people and the destruction of cities that will take decades to overcome.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” proverb.
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Most Dangerous Cities/States/Countries at Most Dangerous Cities.
US Crime Rates at Nationwide Crime Rates.
National Offender Recidivism Rates at Offender Recidivism.
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