Two years after the city had become the home of a “defund the police” movement, Seattle is now seeing a record-high in criminal activity.
A new report by Fox News shows that the city recently had its deadliest month in August, setting a 25-year record high in fatal shootings.
Police Chief Adrian Diaz confirmed this, noting, “This is one of our highest years, and we are on pace to exceed the last two years, and this has been a concerning trend.” This follows a month filled with homicides back in June 2021, with a 267 percent increase over the routine 14-year average.
Many experts have pointed to a number of things tying in with the increasing crime rate, but the big factor? The “defund the police” movement, initiated by then-Mayor Jenny Durkan in 2020. With her slashing of the city budget of $76 million following protests over the death of George Floyd, the effects now look to be taking their toll.
Speaking with us now about this matter is Michael Letts, who has served in law enforcement for over 30 years. Michael currently serves as president, founder and CEO for InVest USA, an organization that provides bulletproof vests to police officers across the country, thanks to various charitable foundations and sponsorships. His expertise will certainly provide weight to this matter.
- Let’s just cut to the chase. Is former mayor Durkan’s “defund the police” program to blame for Seattle’s massive increase in criminal activity and homicide?
- Councilwoman Kshama Sawant also seemingly contributed to this program, asking for the department to be further defunded by 50 percent, or around $85 million. What do you believe motivated them to take such action against police?
- Part of the problem is that there just aren’t enough police to do the job, as Seattle appears to be very understaffed. Do you believe there’s an issue with the hiring process, or are officers just becoming tired of being on the job?
- Numbers indicate that Philadelphia’s police force is already operating at 20 percent below its target staff level, with 800 police department members reportedly set to go over the next few years. What do you believe the government can do to turn these numbers around, if anything?
- We’ve seen similar circumstances with New York officers leaving their jobs in droves and Chicago seeing a severe crunch due to several officers leaving or committing suicide. Would you say this is a dire situation that the government needs to pay attention to?
- If you were in charge of Seattle’s police division, what changes would you make in an effort to cut back on crime and give officers the support they deserve?
- How frustrated are you that the government hasn’t been able to approve national funding for police forces? Do you believe the reasoning behind this is political?
- What would you want to say to police officers that feel that leaving the force would be the best thing for them?
- Where can others learn more about InVest USA, as well as how they can contribute to help fellow police officers?
More information is available on the official website at http://www.investusa.org.
About Michael Letts:
Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue. Those interested in learning more about Letts can visit his official website here.