Proponents of “defunding the police” arguing that money should be taken from police budgets and funneled into programs that may, in theory, reduce violence and thus reduce the need for police seem to think they’ve hit on a brilliant idea. In and of itself, I don’t have an issue with trying to reduce violence at the source. In fact, I’ve been a proponent of that for some time.
The problem is, it takes time for such programs to actually yield results. It’s why politicians tend to jump on “quick fix” legislation instead of programs that may not produce any real outcomes until after the next election.
The idea of defunding the police to funds these other programs creates a bit of a problem. In particular, because these programs take time to yield any results, you’re still going to have violent crime, but you’re also going to have fewer police resources in place to deal with them.
Now, people are taking steps to maintain their own safety, and some aren’t happy about that.
When the uprisings against police-perpetrated violence first hit Chicago in late May, the phone lines of AGB Investigative Services started ringing off the hook.
The private security firm employs more than 750 security guards throughout 12 states and the District of Columbia. Its clients typically include government agencies, businesses and individuals seeking security and concealed carry training.
Since May, though, the firm has been deluged with requests from business owners worried that uprisings will target their store windows and merchandise; wealthy residents on the city’s North side fearing for their gated communities; and the city itself, seeking to supplement its own police force.
During a weekend in June, Chicago spent up to $1.2 million to hire AGB and two other private security firms to supply more than 100 unarmed guards “to protect the local retail shops, grocery stores and pharmacies,” on the city’s South and West sides, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. The contract was temporary, but Tifair Hamed, AGB’s vice president of marketing and communications, says the city can tap the firm’s services on an ongoing basis.
Overall, Hamed says, business has increased by about 25 percent for both the firm’s retail sector and concealed carry training services since May. Hours for guards stationed at retail shops, utility substations and commercial real estate have increased, and the firm’s clientele has expanded to include hotels. The company is looking to hire as many guards as possible, she says.
Now, Lightfoot is catching flak for having hired private armed security, but, well, what did they think was going to happen?
Let’s remember the wanton destruction and theft just a couple of weeks ago in Chicago as looters besieged the Magnificent Mile. This was in response to the shooting of a man who shot at police first. There’s literally no case where police can do their jobs and not face the possibility of looting, yet they’re also operating at a reduced capacity.
Guess what that means? It means someone has to step in, and that means armed security.
Along similar lines, this is why gun control proposals amid the defunding conversations are incredibly stupid. We’re seeing massive surges of violent crime in so many cities, and yet we’re supposed to hand over our guns? I don’t think so.
A lot of people will be willing to stop worrying about having a gun when the violence isn’t an issue. That’s not the case, nor will it be anytime soon, so gun control becomes a nonstarter for millions of Americans.
How can we call the police instead if the police are defunded?