This report from Seattle makes disturbing reading for those living there, but its implications stretch far beyond that city, and beyond Washington state as well. The push to "defund the police" and impose left-wing, progressive perspectives on city administrations, prosecuting authorities and those who enforce the law has resulted in many liberal cities struggling with rising crime rates and increasing street violence. Read this with that in mind.
Seattle Police are changing the way 911 calls are handled. Under a new system, lower priority calls will be funneled into a queue. If an officer never responds to that call, a supervisor can just delete it using what’s called “Z protocol.” Moving forward, anything unanswered by SPD due to a lack of resources will fall under what’s called “Z protocol.”
Seattle City Councilmember Sara Nelson believes the policy pivot is an outgrowth of under staffing. According to data in a recent SPD Finance and Response Time Report, over the past four years response times have gone up at all Seattle Police precincts, indicating it’s taking longer for help to arrive.
“Let’s be clear, the Seattle Police Department has lost over 400 personnel since 2020,” said Nelson. “Investigators, 100 of them have been moved out of specialty units like sexual assault and into patrol. There still aren’t enough officers out there to ensure a rapid response to 911 calls.”
. . .
Jim Fuda, Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, says the failed defund the police experiment has led to the use of “Z protocol.” He’s concerned that without a follow up call or further communication from law enforcement, more people may start taking matters into their own hands.
There's more at the link.
Note that Seattle's approach hides the scale of the problem. If the call is deleted from the 911 queue, there'll be no record of it ever existing, so it won't be included in the tally of crimes per day, week, month or year. Without any official notice being taken of it, liberal politicians can trumpet that they've reduced the crime rate - when, in fact, they've done nothing of the sort. They're simply lying to their electorate.
Mr. Fuda isn't wrong in his concerns. Everywhere in the world, when police prove incapable of dealing with crime and violence, communities do take matters into their own hands. In the South, that's often referred to as the "3-S treatment", applied to criminals as well as animals. I've heard more than one rural resident comment along the lines of, "Yeah, we get criminals now and then. So what? I've got a backhoe." To date, I think that's been more bravado than actual policy. I suspect it won't take much to change that.
In many parts of the world, the absence of effective law enforcement often pits gang against gang. I've seen that at first hand, far too often for comfort, and played the game myself, paying off one gang for protection against others (sometimes the only way to get relief convoys through to their destination in parts of Africa). Typically, a gang controlling an area of a city or slum will offer "protection" to those living there; pay us so much a month, or provide us with the things we need, and we'll stop outsiders from robbing and threatening you. It won't mean you're immune to such crimes - the local gang will still commit them freely - but you'll only have to worry about them from one source, and the gang bosses will keep them to a reasonable level because they don't want to "kill the goose that lays the golden eggs". Of course, if a bigger, more powerful gang moves in, the "protecting" gang will hand over its area without hesitation rather than die for it, and turmoil will result until a new modus vivendi can be worked out.
I know a number of current and former policemen and sheriff's deputies. Their concern for the future is tangible. Those in big cities can see the writing on the wall, and are almost uniformly (you should pardon the expression) looking to retire as soon as they hit eligibility, or transfer to a more rural department with less tolerance for current, politically correct administration. They know if they perform their jobs without fear or favor, as they should, they'll be pilloried as "racist" or some other epithet du jour. The inevitable result is that they've stopped taking risks, and try hard not to put themselves into situations where they might find a liberal, progressive DA turning on them because they arrested, or hurt, or shot an alleged perpetrator of a politically correct race or ethnic group. It's hard to blame them.
I suspect - no, I'm sure - we're going to see this problem spread across America, unless and until we, the people, do something about it, either through the ballot box or through more ... er ... direct measures. I foresee a flourishing market in used backhoes.