As everybody’s eyes turn to Los Angeles and the “big game” on February 13, KYRC is teaming up with Ben & Jerry's on a campaign to transform public safety.
Just in time for LA’s moment in the worldwide media spotlight, we’re installing billboards all over the city that ask people to support investing in programs and services that address the root causes of harm and crime, instead of continuing to pour absurd amounts of money into ineffective and violent law enforcement.
The facts are clear: Spending more on policing and incarceration doesn’t keep us safe. We hope you’ll join us in supporting what does. Read on to learn more.
Police Spending vs. the Crime Rate
A study comparing police spending and the “crime rate” over the past 60 years, from 1960 to 2018, has revealed something profound: There’s no connection between the two. Spending more on policing doesn’t lower the crime rate, and spending less doesn’t increase it. Additionally, these crime rates don’t capture other forms of harm which remain unaddressed in communities.
The United States spends $205 billion a year on law enforcement ($123 billion on policing and $82 billion on incarceration)—more than the military budgets of North Korea, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and India combined. But all that money has had no discernible impact on crime or harm reduction—right now, for example, despite increasingly bloated police budgets, the murder rate is rising. Police don’t prevent crime—they respond to it.
Pouring tons of money into prisons and police budgets clearly isn’t keeping us safe or helping our communities thrive. Even worse, it’s perpetuating the criminalization of people of color and devastating Black and Brown communities. If we actually want to address the root causes of harm and crime and ensure that everyone in every neighborhood is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, we have to invest in community-strengthening programs and services like education, housing, healthcare, job training, and more.
How to Keep Our Communities Safe
Colin Kaepernick, activist, KYRC co-founder, former quarterback, not to mention the co-creator of Ben & Jerry's new Change the Whirled flavor, tells it like it is:
America’s approach to policing was never intended to keep us all safe. Overpolicing and mass incarceration actively threaten the safety, security, and health of Black and Brown people. When people have what they need to provide and care for themselves and their families, public safety is possible. For us all to truly be safe, we need to invest deeply in our own communities.
He’s right. Research backs it all up. Here are just a few examples of the impact these investments can have:
Education reduces kids’ chances of being incarcerated later in life
Summer jobs reduce community violence
Financial assistance to people in need cuts murder arrests in half
Increasing access to substance-use treatment facilities reduces crime and social harm
Transforming Public Safety in LA and Beyond
All of this is why we’re partnering with KYRC to support groups that are providing essential programs and services in Los Angeles—a city that has already seen how investing in grassroots community-building organizations can bring about a significant drop in the murder rate.
Together we’ll be donating to local groups that provide critical support and care in areas like safe, affordable housing, job training, substance-use and mental-health services, and education.
We hope you’ll join us and Ben & Jerry's in supporting the work of vital organizations working hard every day in Los Angeles and all over the country to make our communities healthier and safer.