Report Highlights Why Moderate Police Reforms Fail to Promote True Community Safety

Report looks at cities across the country to show why moderate reforms are not enough for what is required for communities to achieve true safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2020
CONTACT: Christiaan Perez,, 212-334-4275

New York, NY – Today, The Opportunity Agenda published the new report Beyond Policing, to help answer the question “if no police, then what?” The report breaks down why modest reforms that tinker with policing have failed to promote true community safety and provides a selection of programs that ensure community safety that go beyond relying on solutions that depend on the police.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the heartbreaking list of the countless other people killed at the hands of the police, people mobilized worldwide in the streets to say: enough is enough. Several localities passed moderate reforms to address the demands for justice and reduce police violence. Tragically, Beyond Policing illustrates how the moderate forms, time after time, fail to end the violence. From bans on chokeholds to de-escalation trainings, this research shows how reforms can be circumvented by police absent meaningful cultural and structural changes.

“Across the country, organizers are saying enough is enough. Now is the time to recognize that lives are depending on much more than minimalist approaches to reform, and it’s time to re-imagine safety and put community first. That starts with speaking up and developing a collective understanding of alternatives to police. This report is our attempt to help build that vision for community and for peaceful solutions – not solutions that involve simply calling 911. True safety is about much, much more,” said Ellen Buchman, President of The Opportunity Agenda.

“Defunding the police is about investing the money that has been devoted to punishing and policing marginalized communities into building those communities up. If we hope to develop true community safety, we need to provide resources to communities to educate, maintain the health, feed, and house people instead of funneling resources to over bloated police budgets,” said author of the report, I. India Thusi, Law and Policy Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, Associate Professor of Law at Delaware Law School, and 2020 to 2022 Fulbright U.S. Global Scholar.

The Beyond Policing report looks at New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Yonkers, Oklahoma City, and Milwaukee to compare seven moderate reforms that were already implemented with minimal impact. Meanwhile, policies such as Violence Interrupters and Mobile Crisis Centers have demonstrated an alternative to police that empowers the community while reducing over bloated police budgets.

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