Anyone paying attention to the state of our major cities should understand that they are in a rapid and tragic decline. Crime, including homicide, other violent crime, and property crime, has skyrocketed since 2020. It’s impossible to walk around in these cities without being incredibly cautious of your surroundings because the risk of getting robbed, assaulted, or worse is dramatically increasing across our country.
One would think that city officials would take logical and reasonable steps to decrease crime and make everyone safer, such as supporting police officers and thoroughly punishing criminals and violent offenders. But that’s not what the Ann Arbor City Council decided to do.
Despite the fact that Ann Arbor has seen a substantial overall increase in homicide and violent crime since the end of 2021, including two murders in early June, City Council approved an ordinance to ban traffic stops for minor traffic violations and passed another resolution supporting the establishment an “unarmed crisis response program,” even after a proposal for such a team was approved in 2021.
The resolution to ban traffic stops for minor traffic violations is titled the “Driving Equality Ordinance,” and Ann Arbor’s reasoning for such a proposal was reportedly “racial inequality . . . endemic in the criminal justice system.” It’s very strange that City Council would claim systemic racism is endemic in the criminal-justice system considering Ann Arbor is often considered a haven for progressivism and already has endless anti-discrimination policies, which City Council admits in its resolution.
To justify using “racial inequality” as an excuse to pass this resolution, City Council cites several “statistics” that allegedly point to racial discrimination, although, of course, it doesn’t elaborate on the significance of these statistics. According to the resolution, black people are 33 percent of the incarcerated population in the US despite being 12 percent of the population, and this statistic is supposed to prove racial discrimination is occurring. However, when we analyze crime statistics by race, we discover that black people’s higher incarceration rate is in line with the percentage of crimes they commit.
City councilmembers also state that police traffic stops are disproportionately more dangerous, humiliating, and traumatizing for black people. While it’s incredibly difficult to determine how councilmembers know this, there isn’t evidence that traffic stops are more dangerous for black people. In fact, a Harvard researcher discovered that not only is racial bias in law enforcement incredibly rare, but white people are more likely to be shot at by police than black people. So, is there a logical reason why City Council chose to undermine public safety besides random and unfounded claims of “racial injustice”? Certainly not.
Though still relatively safe, Ann Arbor has seen an increase in crime, particularly violent crime, in recent years. Because U-M is so intertwined with the city of Ann Arbor, an increase in crime will have some effect on the safety of our campus. U-M is already one of the most dangerous college campuses, so decreasing public-safety measures in the city, even though the University of Michigan Police Department is separate from the Ann Arbor Police Department, should be of grave concern to any student who wants to go to school at a reasonably safe university.
The moves taken by City Council are in lockstep with a fringe movement by progressives that calls for defunding law enforcement and blames police officers’ being racist for crime and public-safety concerns. Ann Arbor’s vision seems similar to those of Baltimore, Chicago, and Pittsburgh (other cities that have approved of similar “racial injustice” resolutions), which is to cave entirely to progressives’ demands by passing laws that will make the city substantially worse off than it was before.
By banning traffic stops for minor infractions, City Council is setting a precedent that breaking the law isn’t enough to warrant a traffic stop — even though that is the entire foundation of law enforcement.