'From coast to coast, American families are facing an explosion of violent crime on their streets and in their neighborhoods. 2020 saw homicides skyrocket nationwide. The sharpest one-year increase in decades. And 2021 is already shaping up to be even worse.'
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, May 27, 2021 U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding public safety:
"From coast to coast, American families are facing an explosion of violent crime on their streets and in their neighborhoods.
"2020 saw homicides skyrocket nationwide. The sharpest one-year increase in decades. And 2021 is already shaping up to be even worse.
"Last year Seattle saw a 61% increase in murders citywide.
"In 2020, Minneapolis saw homicides hit levels not seen since the 1990s. And so far, 2021 is about doubling last year's pace.
"Here in Washington D.C., 2020 saw homicides hit a 16-year high, and again, 2021 is already on an even worse trajectory.
"The situation is devolving all across the country.
"In my hometown of Louisville, as one report put it, quote, 'the number of slayings in 2020 dwarf[ed] anything Louisville has seen – obliterating the previous record.'
"Crime and delinquency have many causes. In some ways, the pandemic likely contributed. But it is impossible to ignore that these terrible trends are coming precisely as so-called 'progressives' have decided it's time to denounce and defund local law enforcement.
"Seattle cut police funding by 20%. Minneapolis defunded cops by millions of dollars. The District of Columbia's city council approved $15 million in cuts.
"These bone-headed decisions are the direct result of an anti-law-enforcement fad that has swept through the political left like a wildfire.
"And perhaps just as important as these funding cuts is the wave of hostile sentiment that's come with them. Harvard scholars have found that after high-profile incidents reduce the trust that the public and politicians put in the police, the cities in question receive less active policing — and subsequently see an increase in crime, including homicides.
"In other words, in the wake of terrible incidents like we saw last summer, local leaders should look for ways to build bridges and rebuild trust between the vast majority of brave and honorable officers and their communities.
"But instead, from city councils to the halls of Congress, many on the far left decided to crank the knob all the way up on anti-cop rhetoric, across the board.
"Quote: 'Not only do we need to disinvest from police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.'
"Quote: 'Policing in our country is inherently and intentionally racist... No more policing, incarceration, and militarization.'
"Incredulous people asked whether this nonsense was even meant seriously. Helpfully, one Member of Congress clarified: quote, 'defunding police means defunding police.' End quote.
"A small set of politicians may see selfish opportunities for fame or fundraising if they defame and defund the police. But American families are paying a deadly price.
"Defunding the police isn't just a terrible idea for overall public safety. It's also a uniquely awful strategy for racial justice. One study recently confirmed that, quote, 'larger police forces save lives and the lives saved are disproportionately Black lives.'
"So, look, I'm not sure exactly how the rantings of far-left Twitter about crime and policing became official Democratic Party dogma in so many places across America.
"What I do know is that ordinary Americans cannot bear much more of this. And that goes double for the most vulnerable neighborhoods."