The movement to “defund” police departments in the U.S. has been catalyzed by protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people who have been killed by police.
Proponents of defunding want more oversight of police—but they don’t necessarily agree on how to achieve that goal, notes Ben Struhl, executive director of the Center on Crime and Community Resilience at Northeastern.
Some advocates wish to abolish police departments altogether; others hope that a portion of public funding that currently goes to police will be routed to social service organizations that are better able to address problems within marginalized communities.
Struhl believes that more attention should be paid to the cycles of violence that are affecting those communities. He says the defund movement could result in new investments in prevention strategies that could be led by community groups. Struhl adds that a reduction in surveillance activities (including racial profiling) and other police interactions could help reduce tensions.