When police departments get defunded, even if it’s not as extreme a defunding as many would like, there is bound to be some kind of problem. After all, the theory goes that the money taken from police will go toward efforts to prevent crime in other ways, but those efforts take years to produce results. At best, you have a dangerous situation in the meantime. I say “at best” because there’s no guarantee many of these efforts will actually work.
Defunded police departments will get the blame for not making everything miraculously better, on top of everything else.
So, it’s unsurprising that some police groups may be taking action. One such group did so in Austin, TX.
The Texas Municipal Police Association launched a billboard campaign on Wednesday in response to Austin City Council cuts to police funding.
Two billboards along I-35 read ‘Warning! Austin police defunding – Enter at your own risk!’ accompanied by the TMPA logo and the social media hashtag #BACKTHEBLUE.
“The safety of Austin citizens and visitors has never been more at risk from dangerous policies propagated by their own locally elected officials,” said Kevin Lawrence, executive director of TMPA. “We applaud Governor Abbott’s consideration of a legislative proposal that would put the control of the Austin Police Department under state authority.”
In truth, though, the sign ain’t wrong.
Look, I’ve long been a proponent of trying to find ways to prevent violent crime and violent criminals from ever forming. I’ve looked at this as a much better solution to gun control and I’m glad to see others taking up the cause as well.
But the problem with the current rhetoric is that it’s stupid.
See, all the outreach programs in the world won’t produce instantaneous results. These things take time. Years, in fact, and that would be after a lot of really in-depth study to determine just what leads to violent crime. There’s been no such studying and instead, places like Austin jump in this haphazardly for political points.
In the meantime, though, the criminals are still running around. The only problem is, there are fewer police watching the criminals. For the bad guys, you might as well declare open season with no bag limits on the law-abiding citizens of Austin.
It’s not that the idea of trying to prevent crime is bad. That’s never a bad thing, in and of itself. However, it’s also not going to solve everything, especially when so many of the things being discussed as alternatives are based on feelings rather than science. At the end of the day, the Austin City Council made their community less safe. A billboard warning people of that fact isn’t just a political point but also a stern reminder that actions have consequences, but ordinary people are the ones who will pay those consequences. Those uninterested in paying them personally might be well advised to bypass the city if at all possible.
If we’re going to put warning labels on things, we might as well see them on cities that act this stupidly.