Divesting from law enforcement is not merely compatible with reducing interpersonal violence in communities; it is necessary. To understand why, we must consider the sources of violence.
In the year since police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, people across the country have called to “defund the police.” At the same time, many major urban centers have experienced an uptick in violence, including fatal shootings, increasing the urgency of demands for neighborhood safety. Public debate often pits these trends against one another, suggesting that defunding the police isn’t possible because pressing safety challenges require more police. Until we as a society decide to invest in structural solutions, inequity will continue fueling the fire of violence like a hose full of gasoline. This is the starting place for any conversation about public safety: exploring ways to keep people alive by creating a society that protects all of its members.