In the past year, city police departments across the country have reported a dramatic drop in manpower, as cops retire, resign, or leave for the suburbs. The NYPD’s headcount fell to its lowest level in ten years. In Chicago, police retirements rose 15 percent. The San Francisco Police Department is short 400 officers; over 115 officers, including an entire unit dedicated to crowd control, have left the Portland PD; and nearly 200 have left the Minneapolis PD or are on leave, rendering the department unable to engage in proactive policing. A recent survey of police departments found that hiring fell an average of 5 percent in 2020, while resignations rose 18 percent and retirements a whopping 45 percent.
What’s behind this wave? Officers I spoke with who had left their old departments all offered the same explanation: since last year’s explosive protests, they no longer feel that they have the support of the public or of civilian officials. As one now-retired NYPD officer put it: “One day, the good guys became the bad guys and the bad guys became the good guys.”
That moment, the officers to whom I spoke agreed, came last June, when tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of major cities, calling for the “defunding” of police departments in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Analysis of an unnamed midsize, midwestern city estimated that resignations nearly quintupled specifically in the months following the Floyd protests, supporting the claims of officers on the ground.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters believe the “defund the police” movement led to increased crime in major U.S. cities. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 24% disagree and 21% are not sure.
The belief that the movement led to increased crime is shared by 51% of urban voters, 56% of suburban voters, and 59% of rural voters.
Some longtime Californians view the continued net outmigration from their state as a worrisome sign, but most others in the Golden State’s media, academic, and political establishment dismiss this demographic decline as a “myth.” The Sacramento Bee suggests that it largely represents the “hate” felt toward the state by conservatives eager to undermine California’s progressive model. Local media and think tanks generally concede the migration losses but comfort themselves with the thought that California continues to attract top-tier talent and will remain an irrepressible superpower that boasts innovation, creativity, and massive capital accumulation.
Reality reveals a different picture. California may be a great state in many ways, but it also is clearly breaking bad. Since 2000, 2.6 million net domestic migrants, a population larger than the cities of San Francisco, San Diego, and Anaheim combined, have moved from California to other parts of the United States. (See Figure 1.) California has lost more people in each of the last two decades than any state except New York—and they’re not just those struggling to compete in the high-tech “new economy.” During the 2010s, the state’s growth in college-educated residents 25 and over did not keep up with the national rate of increase, putting California a mere 34th on this measure, behind such key competitors as Florida and Texas. California’s demographic woes are real, and they pose long-term challenges that need to be confronted. . . .
California was once seen as a paragon of youthful energy, but it is gradually ditching the surfboard and adopting the walker. From 2010 to 2018, California’s population aged 50 percent more rapidly than the rest of the country, according to data from the American Community Survey. By 2036, seniors will be a larger share of the state’s population than will people under 18.
If "democratic socialists" were honest about their policies, they'd point to places they're actually in practice-like Cuba.
They don't because everyone would be terrified. People are starving there, they can't get basic medicines.#SOSCuba
— Hannah Cox (@HannahDCox) July 15, 2021
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