Did you see the Gallup poll on defunding the police?

According to the poll, 81 percent of Black people want police to spend the same amount of time or more in their neighborhoods. We noted this sentiment in an Urban Reform update a few weeks ago. Residents in these communities aren’t typically armed, nor do they have money for private security or contract deputy programs like other communities do. They absolutely rely on local law enforcement, and as taxpayers, they should get it.

This poll also offers insight as to why defunding the police has caught on in cities like Seattle (65 percent White to 7 percent Black population) and Portland (80.5 percent White to 2.7 percent Black population) but has largely faced opposition in cities like Chicago and Houston. However, Black people polled highly—upwards of 90 percent—in wanting better interactions with the police.

This week, the City of Houston announced $250 fines for those not wearing masks, a move likely to increase negative interactions between police and communities. Also, according to Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime, efforts like this undermine their purpose because it forces police to increase interactions with those not wearing masks, further exposing them.

Using police as mask enforcement while people are suffering from unemployment, housing-cost burden, and while violent crime is on the uptick seems like poor prioritization by local officials and will likely have long-term, unintended consequences.

This is a commentary republished with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.