As ongoing civil unrest created by hostile hooligans hiding under the “peaceful protest” umbrella roam with hurricane fury and torch cop cars and engulf police precincts and generally loot and demolish American cities, the tab gets weighty. Economists and analysts say the toll is estimably $2 billion.
And that two billion-dollar figure is conservative; the figure is derived from the Insurance Information Institute tabulating claims only from May 26 (day after the death of George Floyd) to June 8. Since then, three additional months of rioting and destruction have persisted.
Insurance companies and their claims reps are likely the busiest nervous nail-biters nowadays, with justified reasons: civil unrest across the nation; COVID-related losses; a volley of hurricanes carving through America.
As for the civil unrest-related-claims, I suppose the type of bad people engaging in violence and utter destruction to perfectly good property and unrelenting disruption of the sanctity of life care not to ponder the ultimate costs of their raucous, riotous behavior. Doesn’t really matter what they’re wearing or the flag or banner they are carrying representing the group of which they are a “member.” All of it is easily defined as barbaric.
What would seem almost like a new normal —cop shoots a suspect out of self-defense or in defense of an innocent citizen, factions go bonkers and maim/destroy— can go on infinitely…until sensibilities kick in and folks realize the police are not the problem. Law enforcement officers are essentially the middleman trying to mitigate matters created by others whose minds are incensed by one thing or another. We all know violence solves nothing; well, most of us do. Yet the small radical factions really know how to run up a tab.
It remains an astonishing factor that relatively small groups and movements endowed with strong vocal cords either wittingly/unwittingly negate critical analyses…and instead opt to generate billions in damages. If brains were capitalized and used to reason through most of these officer-involved shootings (OIS), holding bad actors responsible for their poor choices, we’d be a hearty, happy nation.
But no. Knee-jerk emotion-filled responses seems the norm, equating to needless hostilities and mass destruction.
Both public and private sector insurance holders deluged insurance companies with claims for damages caused by the riots resulting in retailers’ merchandise lost to looting (thus potential price increases), police vehicles set ablaze (law-abiding taxpayers foot the bill for replacement), police precincts engulfed and/or garishly remodeled by “activist” human jackhammers who have pyromaniacal tendencies (taxpayers again), all punctuated by personal injuries and/or murders.
On Wednesday, I started seeing the vast figure of $2 billion being bandied about media networks. Two billion big ones…and we are still entangled in maelstrom momentum, with certain anti-cop groups haphazardly weaponizing with makeshift objects and brazenly mounting attacks on both public/private properties and anyone upon/within. The Portland Police Bureau station was one glaring example.
One can imagine the particular financial cost after Seattle ceded grounds (including its police department’s East Precinct) in the so-called “summer of love,” in which it sort of handed over the keys to the city by allowing anarchists to camp and embed themselves in a self-cordoned tract of land. The equation? Not much “love” but plenty of destruction underscored with maiming and murdering.
The price we pay is exorbitant, especially when it comes to lives lost due to political posturing without diligent discernment. (Small wonder there is a burgeoning recall effort regarding Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, one among the breed of elected officials who are not police supporters.)
This few-billion-dollar toll…at a time when many law enforcement officers are planning their exit, effectively depleting the ranks to combat all the crazies. And who could blame them: they were born with human emotions and choices, there is no military-like draft mandating cops serve us, and the importance of loved ones in the mix all factor into decisions to depart police departments for good. (That is another topic for further discussion on another day.)
Over the past few days, a growing number of police chief vacancies popped up. That relates to our previous paragraph; it also relates to our topic today. The cost to attract, process, hire, train, and equip one solitary “new” cop is astronomical, further kicking the wallets and purses of taxpayers. Similarly, the loss of police executives is tantamount to huge deficits in police experience and professional mentoring. The Rochester Police Department’s command staff leaving altogether is a surreal example, leaving the department kind of rudderless and a seemingly unsupportive mayor at the city’s helm.
Conversely, potential police applicants nowadays are a dwindled lot, exacerbating the tsunami of riots and untenable mitigation due to depleted resources (which means more insurrectionists marauding on the streets, all at a significant cost to property). This week, the Atlanta PD reported that dozens of officers are filing papers and flying out the door on a one-way excursion to other pastures.
This at a time when we are trying to figure out how to survive COVID not only clinically but monetarily. Stimulus bills are being fashioned by Congress, automatically weakened by the fact that an estimable $2 billion in intentional destruction caused by malcontents inflicting mayhem in America’s cities. The fallout continues and the tally is morbidly obese.
By comparison to the 1992 riots sparked by the Rodney King debacle, College of the Holy Cross economics professor Victor Matheson offers the following insights: “Economic activity in the areas affected didn’t return for at least 10 years. At least not to previous levels.” Matheson estimated the Rodney King-based riots cost close to $5 billion accounting for lost sales through one decade.
Matheson echoed what we already know and understandably fret over: “If people don’t feel safe where their businesses are, then they don’t feel a need to rebuild.” Thus, the impacts have lasting effects…
Incidentally, in the event anyone out there is pondering savings stemming from the beats of “defund the police” drums, we need only look at the pilot city ridiculously calling for such a preposterous concept. Yesterday, reports circulated among media outlets, citing Minneapolis City Council brow-beating the Minneapolis police chief. Why? They now wanna know why crime has skyrocketed and why there are no cops to quell rampant crime.
As one cop said on social media: “Nope nope nope…can’t have it both ways. Defunding the police gives you the illusion ‘that you’re doing something good’ when in reality you aren’t. Don’t be surprised when the worst comes! Stay safe out there!”
Years ago, one of my police duties was to write grants to secure funds for equipment, law enforcement training tuition, and police personnel for newly-devised specialized units such as crisis negotiation teams. Where the municipal tax base may ill-afford these expenditures, federal grant monies were the savior. I suspect departments who have grant writers among their mix are already busily pecking away at the keyboard and completing online applications; those which are not endowed in such a fashion are likely outsourcing the tasks, hoping to secure financing for sustenance.
Technically, though, grants offered by the federal government is still tax dollars, albeit from a larger base (instead of local tax roles/coffers). The bottom line within a bottom line is that you, me, we are paying for the fallout left by chaotic individuals and the trail of destruction for which they are responsible, especially when left unattended because of stand down orders and/or reduced law enforcement resources aka defunded or abolished police.
The price we pay for freedom can often come with a hefty hit, monetarily and otherwise.
As for Minneapolis cutting cops and reinvesting that money? They are earmarking the funds for “violence interrupters” who, the local leaders believe, will supplant police and thwart crime.
With the pendulum swinging back to the blue zone and police being once again permitted to do the job, it’s anyone’s guess what the final tally will be in terms of the price tag of a seemingly endless galaxy of riots.