Police Needed as Violent Crimes Spike, Aument Says

HARRISBURG – After learning of a nearly 30% increase in homicides last year per Federal Bureau of Investigation data released last week, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) released the following statement:

“Last year saw an unprecedented spike in murder and other violent crimes. In fact, this unprecedented increase in murders was the largest increase since the federal government initially began compiling data in the 1960s. Assaults increased by 12%, vehicle thefts increased by 11.8%, and violent crime overall increased by nearly 6%.

“And yet, at a time when heinous crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, interest groups are calling to defund the police. I think these disturbing crime statistics tell us that we need to be doing the exact opposite – we should be investing in programs that help to keep our communities safe, not stripping police departments of the limited resources they have now.

“Defunding has already happened in some areas of the country, and criminologists believe that to be one of the top reasons for the troubling crime trends we’re seeing. Even in areas where defunding is still just an idea and not yet a reality, the lack of support our police officers experienced in the last year is taking a toll. Officers are hesitant and even afraid to fully engage in policing as many feel they do not have the public’s trust and respect. When forced to make split-second decisions, there is more doubt than ever before, and that can cost lives.

“Particularly during such uncertain times when violence seems to be spreading like wildfire, Pennsylvanians deserve to feel safe in their communities and in their homes. Defunding the police will not accomplish that. Instead, we should support our police while also advocating for programs that prevent crime before it’s committed.

“In addition to properly funding our law enforcement, we need to back them and their families as they work to keep our communities safe. We ought to commend them for the work they do and the sacrifices they make.”

In June 2020, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a number of police reform bills intended to improve police training and reduce deadly force incidents. Learn more here.

CONTACT:  Stephanie Applegate, 717-787-4420