Opinion: The Best Way to Stop Crime Is to “Defund the Police”

Walter Rhein

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I don’t understand why there is a huge resistance to the concept of defunding the police. The phrase has become a political tool. Unfortunately, that means that there is a lot of confusion about what it actually means.

One thing everyone in the United States knows is that our government spends too much money. We have a national debt that feels like it’s out of control. Fortunately, some of the out-of-control spending has been reeled in under President Biden. However, we’re still a long way from a surplus and more cuts have to be made.

One of the largest expenditures in our country is the police force. Every citizen should question whether we could get more from those funds if we put them elsewhere.

Why is it that you often hear politicians criticize the amount of money that’s spent on education, but it’s rare to hear politicians criticize the amount of money spent on the police?

Teachers and police officers are both funded by the government. They are both vitally important jobs that help determine the quality of our civilization.

Defunding the police doesn’t mean that you instantly cut police budgets to zero. Instead, it’s a gradual reduction that allows you to work towards the dream of a less authoritarian society.

Many people in the United States say that they don’t trust the government. Many people say that they don’t like to be told what to do. Why then do these people not support the idea of defunding the police.

People who fear that the government might come to “take their guns” need to understand that when they do come, it will be police officers. Therefore, you could make the reasonable argument that “defunding the police” would help protect the Second Amendment.

Why shouldn’t we make the choice to allocate government funds to education instead of policing? What good does it do our society to have people sitting in jail? Yes, there are violent criminals that need to be taken off the streets. Our police force serves us bravely in that regard and they put themselves at risk to keep us safe.

But do we really need police officers pulling us over because we had fuzzy dice hanging from our rearview mirror? Many people in our society on both sides of the political spectrum claim they are the victims of baseless prosecution. That indicates that our police force has too much money to pursue frivolous transgressions.

What would happen if we spent less money on the police force and more money on education? We could start by extending education for one year. Imagine the difference in society if every child in America had the opportunity to study at a trade school or university for one year.

Crime is often the result of desperation. I believe that people are generally good. Most people want to work hard. Most people don’t want trouble. Most people want to make a contribution to society. Let’s make it easier for those people to find their way in the world.

If you go on social media, you see a lot of memes promoting trade schools. That’s a great idea! Why shouldn’t we make that option even more attractive by providing it with adequate funding?

When young people have marketable skills they are less likely to engage in criminal behavior. If we spend more money on education, we don’t need the police. Of course, this isn’t an idea that will happen overnight. It will take years to make the transition.

The United States puts too many people in jail. Taxpayers have to pay for the police officers that make the arrests, and the guards that watch the prisoners. This is a double expense and it’s inefficient.

Instead of a system that doesn’t work, let’s move to a more efficient system that allows people to be productive. Defund the police and improve education. If we provide young people with more opportunities, crime will go away.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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