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Sheriff blames 'defund the police' movement as murders soar nearly 200% in Los Angeles County

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/17/2021 Michael Lee
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Statistics show murders in Los Angeles County have risen nearly 200% this year, which one official blames on the “defund the police” movement.

"It’s very easy to say, ‘Oh yeah, all cops are bad,’ and ‘Let’s reform and defund the police,'" Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. "Yet, they’re the very first ones to pick up the 911 when someone’s crawling over their back gate trying to get into their house."

There were 60 murders in Los Angeles County by Feb. 28, a 186% rise over the 21 recorded during the same period of 2020.

Villanueva said the spike is at least in part due to the policies of county District Attorney George Gascon, who he believes has emboldened criminals who no longer fear harsh penalties.

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But not everyone believes Villanueva’s explanation, with University of Southern California Law Professor Jody Armour saying police need to reflect on how their actions can affect their communities.

"That reservoir of resentment is actually, in and of itself, also a driver of crime," Armour said. "Until that’s healed, we’re really not going to get at the spiraling crime problem."

Armour also voiced support for reallocating police funds to other services.

"And then this leaner, meaner law enforcement can focus its attention on solving violent and serious crimes," Armour said.

Murders and other crimes have seen a surge this year in many of the country’s largest cities, with the national murder rate jumping up 25%, the highest it has been since 1995.

A report from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund revealed that the greatest spikes are happening in the 10 cities that have been the most hostile to police departments, rising 56% in those locations.

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“This data confirms that in places where law enforcement saw the most resistance from community leaders and calls for less policing, we saw more homicides,” said LELDF President Jason Johnson. “Progressive prosecutors made it clear that making arrests for drug and weapons crimes that will go unprosecuted only exposes officers to the risk of disciplinary action, lawsuits, and criminal prosecution. So, to mitigate that risk, police took a more passive approach.”

Tags: News, Los Angeles, California, Law Enforcement, Crime, Black Lives Matter, Race and Diversity, Law

Original Author: Michael Lee

Original Location: Sheriff blames 'defund the police' movement as murders soar nearly 200% in Los Angeles County

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