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Black Americans and the Police: What Do They Really Want?

Black Lives Matter claims that the black community wants the police defunded – but a new poll reveals the truth.

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The movement to “defund the police” is gaining popularity – or is it? Americans are told that the hope to end policing as we know it comes from the black community due to violence it has received from law enforcement. But a recent surveys reveals a different story.

What Did the Survey Find?

A poll from Gallup analyzed the attitudes of black Americans toward law enforcement. Despite the claims of Black Lives Matter, most respondents said they would prefer that the police remain in their neighborhoods. In some cases, African Americans stated that they would like officers to spend more time in their cities.

From Gallup:

“When asked whether they want the police to spend more time, the same amount of time or less time than they currently do in their area, most Black Americans – 61% – want the police presence to remain the same. This is similar to the 67% of all U.S. adults preferring the status quo, including 71% of White Americans.

Meanwhile, nearly equal proportions of Black Americans say they would like the police to spend more time in their area (20%) as say they’d like them to spend less time there (19%).”

Another interesting tidbit that the poll revealed was the frequency with which black Americans see police officers in their neighborhoods. The survey found that “Black Americans’ reported exposure to local police is slightly above the national average, with 32% saying they see the police often or very often in their neighborhood.” This percentage is ten points higher than that of white participants, but only four points higher than Hispanics.

On the other hand, about 41% of black respondents stated that they see police in their areas only “sometimes,” which is in line with the national average, while 27% said they “rarely” see law enforcement officers. This means that 68% of black Americans do not see police in their neighborhoods on a routine basis.

When it comes to defunding the police, only 22% of African Americans support abolishing police departments. But it’s worth pointing out that 90% favored implementing “specific reforms aimed at improving police relations with the communities they serve and preventing or punishing abusive police behavior.”

Black Americans and the Police

While the poll demonstrated that black people are not as averse to police presence in their neighborhoods, it still shows that they are not as confident that they would be treated well during interactions with law enforcement. Less than one in five African Americans believe that the police would treat them with “courtesy and respect.”

The results of the study show that while black Americans acknowledge that reforms are needed in law enforcement, they are not on board with the drastic anti-police agenda of the Black Lives Matter organization. Moreover, African Americans, while cautious of the police, have no desire to banish police from their neighborhoods.

Race Relations & Media Affairs Correspondent at and A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff’s insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.

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