That argument gained power as a surge in gun violence drove homicides to a 30-year high in Lansing, the capital of Michigan. In the fall, the City Council rejected a proposal to cut the $46.5 million police budget in half over five years and instead endorsed hiring more social workers.
After the death of George Floyd spawned a movement to curb police power in America, a rise in violent crime in many cities has served as a counterweight, making radical changes harder for some of the public — and some elected officials — to accept.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed by police, the City Council proposed eliminating the police department in June. While the council forced some cuts, by February, following a dramatic rise in violent crime, it agreed to hire more officers. In January, Salt Lake City’s council lifted a police hiring freeze imposed during the Floyd protests as violence spiked. Atlanta, where homicides hit a 20-year high, increased its police budget last summer. A survey of mayors released in January showed that a vast majority thought their police budgets shouldn’t significantly shrink.
In Lansing, a city of 118,000, Mayor Andy Schor has backed changes to police operations but opposes cuts to the police budget. Police Chief Daryl Green said that he has fought off the City Council’s attempts to reduce funding to his department by highlighting the rise in violence.