As crime rates climb across the nation, police departments in several major U.S. cities are facing a crisis, namely, the inability to recruit new police officers. As a result, staffing shortages have led to increased overtime, thinly spread patrols, and a rise in crime rates.
Violent crimes remained higher during the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2019, according to the Council on Criminal Justice. The International Association of Chiefs of Police published a paper called "A Crisis for Law Enforcement" that shows 78% of law enforcement agencies have had "difficulty in recruiting qualified candidates" and that 65% reported having "too few candidates applying to be law enforcement officers."
Staffing issues have been reported over the last year in Minneapolis, San Francisco, and New York, among other cities. At the same time, many of these same cities – including their elected officials – embraced the “defund the police” movements across the country in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and riots in the summer of 2020.