3rd50 billion dollars – that’s how much money Joe Biden wants to invest in local police districts. With the help of the Corona rescue packages and the new infrastructure plan, he wants to tackle a problem that currently preoccupies many Americans: the increase in crime.
Although this is largely a matter for the states and counties, Biden promises the regional law enforcement officers cash injections from federal funds. While not a few in his party like to restrict the police, which are equipped like a military, and some even want to abolish them, he sent a different signal on Wednesday. This is not the time to “turn our backs on our law enforcement officers or our communities,” Biden said in the White House.
More murders, rapes, robberies
Last weekend alone, there were ten firearms crimes with multiple victims in nine states, who are referred to as “mass shootings” in the American media even if they are not rampages. Seven people were killed and 45 injured. Certain acts of violence, particularly gun crimes, increased in many cities during the pandemic.
For example, after the number of violent acts decreased for years, there were more murders in 2020. Individual cities reported a 33 percent increase in the murder rate. According to police associations, 63 of the 66 largest police districts saw significant increases in at least one category of acts of violence, such as murder, rape and aggravated robbery, in the past year.
According to authorities, the relaxation of the corona requirements is also leading to more criminal offenses in some places. In Chicago, there were 33 percent more homicides and 40 percent more gunfights in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year. In Los Angeles, the number of homicide cases rose 36 percent. And New York police reported a 14 percent increase in homicides in the first quarter. There the increase in firearms offenses was particularly noticeable at fifty percent.
The strategy announced by the president during the election campaign is to strengthen the police force and combat armed violence in the country. Biden stressed that his government wanted to fight for the ban on certain semi-automatic weapons. In addition, there must be further measures against firearms crime – namely the stricter security check of gun buyers, which has long been required by many groups.
The congress will wall
On this issue, Biden is exactly where his predecessor Barack Obama stood with regard to practical implementation: Congress would have to pass appropriate new regulations on gun laws and will not do so in the face of the tight majority.
On the part of the federal government, one could at least prosecute arms dealers who violate conditions, promised Biden. He also argued that the so-called “community policing” demonstrably helps against violence, but is underfunded. Local stakeholders should work better with the police and develop prevention programs, for example.
The President announced that he would make money available from the new infrastructure program for such initiatives. The federal government should also help more in the rehabilitation of criminals. In many states, they still cannot get social housing. According to Biden, the housing ministry should provide more money for emergency housing vouchers.