Cities plagued by violence have figured a way to make their citizens feel safer and it’s not actual police work. Following the death of George Floyd, major cities across the United States rushed to “reform” their police agencies while no one actually considered what that would do to the overall crime in those cities.
It was virtuous for sure because no one has ever explained how a police incident in Minneapolis had anything to do with say anywhere else in America but the consequences have been deadly to American citizens.
2020 saw the largest one year spike in violence in 30 years and the city of Norfolk (VA) was no exception. One in twenty five residents are victimized and their crime is 61% higher than the national average.
While we would suggest that this is why law enforcement exists, it seems that Norfolk and many others want a different path.
One way is to simply stop reporting so much crime to the media. That is exactly what Norfolk has been doing for a year.
Under the media policy, unless someone is critically hurt, they will no longer discuss police shootings with the media. If someone dies in any other way, the citizens will have to listen closely to a police scanner because the media has been shut out.
Carissa Wheeler tells WAVY that there was a death less than a block from her home that she never found out about.
“That scares me because there’s children that live in the street, there’s kids that live right across the street and right down the street that play in this neighborhood all the time,” Wheeler said.
The media blackout even includes mass shootings. In March, four people were shot including a 17-year-old, but no one died so the media was left scrambling to put the details together.
WAVY says that police released no information to them that night, and it took them several days to get any of the details.
“That’s crazy because y’all should be working together,” said Rose Benthall. The shootout happened right outside her window. Like us, she was left in the dark.
“I think it’s terrible. I think that the police should have let the public know.”
Norfolk is not alone and the national media in particular is beginning to pull back on the reporting of crime. For instance, In June the Associated Press said that they would no longer name suspects in minor crimes but they did not define what crimes that included. They stated that “the organization will continue to name individuals suspected in major crimes, like murder.”
While no one is giving the motive to this new media blackout, we have an idea. The failed experiment of “re-imagining” the police is hurting the very politicians that pushed it so much and while they will never admit they were wrong and actually change course to provide safety to their respective communities, they are trying a different approach.
If citizens don’t see the failures of the politicians in the media, maybe they can get away with their atrocity.
Unfortunately, the national media seems willing and able to help their political counterparts.