‘Abolish the police!’? What happened when a major American city tried that a century ago

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Nothing better reveals the depth of the madness afoot in the land than the demands to defund or completely abolish the police. It’s bad enough for airhead celebrities, something worse for the formerly prestigious New York Times, and downright alarming for office holders, state and federal to indulge the fantasy that thin blue line is all the separates us from anarchy, mob rule, and ultimately a dictatorship spawned by the need to restore order. The experience of Baltimore following the Freddie Gray riots, when the police there stopped aggressively engaging in minority neighborhoods ought to be enough to close the case. Even progressive thought leaders at the New York Times and Pro Publica called the results a ”tragedy.”

[I]n the years that followed, Baltimore, by most standards, became a worse place. In 2017, it recorded 342 murders — its highest per-capita rate ever, more than double Chicago’s, far higher than any other city of 500,000 or more residents and, astonishingly, a larger absolute number of killings than in New York, a city 14 times as populous. Other elected officials, from the governor to the mayor to the state’s attorney, struggled to respond to the rise in disorder, leaving residents with the unsettling feeling that there was no one in charge. With every passing year, it was getting harder to see what gains, exactly, were delivered by the uprising.