Making an effort to support your local law enforcement officers will help make South Tampa a stronger community. Unfortunately, police officers have been poorly treated over the past few years. Many cities have slashed police department funding while progressive district attorneys have neglected to prosecute criminals. Crime rates have soared in many cities, and morale in police departments is low. However, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. In this article, we will explore why law enforcement is suffering, the effect on neighborhoods, and offer 5 ways to support your local law enforcement officers.
Police Department Funding, A Tale of Two Cities—Tampa and San Francisco
An outcry to defund the police began in 2020, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Mr. Floyd was in police custody at the time of his death. In answer to the outcry, San Francisco was the first major US city to cut police funding. The city slashed $120 million in funding starting in 2021. Since then, crime rates in the city have skyrocketed. According to the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, San Franciscans face about a 1-in-16 chance of being a victim of property or violent crime, making the city more dangerous than 98 percent of US cities, both small and large.
The size of the police force has dwindled and is now much smaller than it was before the defunding. Another factor in the rising crime rate is that San Francisco has a progressive DA that won’t prosecute crime. Illegal drug use is pervasive, and current estimates count more drug users in the city than high school students. The New York Post recently reported that San Francisco Mayor London Breed was making an emergency request to the city Board of Supervisors for more police funding. The additional funds would support a crackdown on crime, including open-air drug dealing, car break-ins, and retail theft.
Tampa, on the other hand, went in a different direction. A recent Bloomberg report found that the city of Tampa had increased its police department budget by 8.6% for 2021. CityLab data confirms it is the largest police budget increase among all 50 cities in the analysis. Additionally, among the cities analyzed, Tampa also saw the biggest boost to its general budget, increasing 11.9%. According to Crime Grade, the Tampa Metro is safer than other metro areas of the same size, including Baltimore, Denver, San Diego, and Pittsburg.
The Impact of Perception
In many places today, the police officer is an object of scorn. Citizens, government officials, and the media view their local police force not as a remedy to crime and disorder but as a cause of it.
According to City Journal, police now face the knowledge that their superiors and politicians will sacrifice them without a second thought if it meets the approval of the woke mob, political leaders, and media figures who amplify its demands. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan watched as an entire neighborhood in downtown Seattle was taken over by a mob in June of 2020. It was called the CHOP zone. When questioned about the lack of police presence, Durken replied, “It will be a summer of love!” The first murder inside the CHOP zone occurred 12 days later.
Frontiers in Sociology reports that police perceptions are very important to the relationship between residents and law enforcement. That’s because police cannot be effective without public support. A lack of support from the public would make the police unable to apprehend criminals, solve crimes, and unable to recruit quality recruits with diverse backgrounds. Supporting local law enforcement, just like keeping a neighborhood safe, is everyone’s responsibility.
Five Ways to Support the Police
1. Project Blue Light
Project Blue Light is a nationwide recognition of those Police Officers who have died in the line of duty. You send a message that you support America’s Police Offices by displaying blue lights. The City of Tampa participates each year. On January 9, Tampa’s Old City Hall and downtown bridges were bathed in blue light. Residents can participate by porch lights in blue and displaying blue ribbons.
2. Thin Blue Line Flag
The thin blue line flag was created in 2014 by then-college student Andrew Jacob to show support for law enforcement. The flag features a black and white image of the American flag with a horizontal stripe beneath the field of white stars on the black background. The stars represent the citizenry who stand for justice and order. The darkness represents chaos, anarchy, and according to some, a memorial to the deaths of those law officers who have perished in the line of duty.
Both Project Blue Light and flying the blue flag are easy ways to show support. If you want to get more involved, here are additional ways to support TPD officers.
3. Coffee with a Cop
Officers meet with the community to discuss crime patterns, safety tips, and quality of life concerns over a cup of coffee at a partnering business.
4. Tampa Night Out
Each October, the department hosts celebrations throughout the month aimed at building trust between officers and residents and promoting safe neighborhoods.
5. Business Support
Hang a sign in your business window “We Support Law Enforcement!”, mention your appreciation in your publications or advertisements, give a special discount to Law Enforcement families, etc.
In recent years a shadow has been cast on all police officers due to the actions of a few rogue cops. Public support is vital to the mission of local law enforcement. The relationship between an engaged police force and the community makes neighborhoods stronger and allows local liberty to flourish. Sunny South Tampa supports the Tampa Police Department and encourages our followers to do the same. Use any of these 5 ways to support local law enforcement officers as a starting point.
Sunny Alexander and her husband Jordan are both veterans of the United States Army. She owns the website Sunny South Tampa and is committed to building a stronger South Tampa community. This blog is all about building better connections, stronger neighborhoods, and issues facing our military community. Read her inspirational story to learn more about Sunny and her contributions to South Tampa. Sunny is also a licensed Real Estate Broker and focuses on serving the unique needs of the military community. She dedicates her professional life to helping everyone find the right home. Find your next home by visiting her website, Sunny Sells Tampa, or call her at 931-237-6592. At Sunny South Tampa, we work to make South Tampa stronger together!