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Fund Social Services to Reduce Crime


Lack of Good Paying Union Jobs Lead to Crime
Historically, crime has surged when corporations instituted mass layoffs cutting millions of good paying union jobs. Even today, crime rises when people are desperate, especially in recessions like during the ongoing pandemic. America has massive disparities in household income and wealth, from Beverly Hills and Malibu mega-mansions, to crowded apartments in south and east Los Angeles. Because of racism in employment and housing, poverty is concentrated in communities of color.

Disintegration of the Social Safety Net
A few generations ago, because of the struggles of the civil rights and labor movement, government provided public housing, welfare, and employment services. As the labor movement declined in strength, government cut these important safety net provisions that protected families from homelessness and hunger. The crack cocaine and heroin epidemics have devastated families in communities where people use drugs as an outlet when they have few options for upward mobility. Further, mental health institutions shuttered, leaving hundreds of thousands of mentally ill wandering the streets with no services.

Failed System of Militarized Policing and Mass Incarceration
People resort to crime when drugs and poverty replace good paying union jobs. Instead of supporting full employment, workers’ rights, and welfare, government responded with arrests and imprisonment. Today 2.2 million people are in prison and a greater number are on parole. Because policing has disproportionately targeted arrests in inner-city low-income neighborhoods, too many Blacks and Latinos are in jail or on probation, denying them future employment opportunities and stable income. The cycle of poverty and incarceration continues as communities fall further behind. Cops’ jobs are to prevent crime. But the State deploys them to deal with their social problems. There is a better way.

Reallocate Funding to Social Services
Billions of dollars are spent annually on policing, probation, and prisons. But other more humane ways exist to prevent crime. Guaranteed income programs like those provided by LA County Public Social Services reduce the poverty that causes crimes. Similarly, public housing will prevent homelessness, evictions, and allow all to enjoy stable healthy lives. Equal opportunity in employment and protecting workers’ rights will increase the number of good paying union jobs rather than crime and incarceration. Investing in education and training gives youth hope for the future.

Crime is a Public Health Issue
The mentally ill represent 15% of detainees at LA County jail. Supporting the LA County Department of Mental Health to treat the mentally ill will treat sick people as patients not criminals. Drugs are addictive, and substance abuse treatment services are a proven method to stop use. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provides important treatment services. Restorative justice techniques build community trust and reduce violence and victimization.

We Shall Overcome
Militarized policing has targeted the poor too much, leading to community distrust and killings of innocent people, predominantly Black men. Emphasizing funding social services and public health will reduce crime and poverty, saving lives and keeping us safe.

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