The largest city in Vermont has seen homicides spike to a level unmatched in more than 60 years in the wake of a push to defund the police.
Burlington, the state’s largest city, has suffered five homicides so far in the year, which is the highest number in 62 years, Fox News reported. Burlington’s population is 44,000.
The increase comes in the wake of a city vote to defund the police, which resulted in the number of officers being slashed from 105 to 74. The school police officer program was deleted, and funds were reallocated to racial justice programs.
“We are not used to this level of violence in Vermont,” Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said after a double murder several months ago.
The increase in crime was also something officers warned officials about in the wake of the cuts to the force.
“Reducing the number of rank and file officers on the street without first reducing the demand for police services will needlessly risk the lives of the most vulnerable in our community and of the police officers whose job it is to protect them,” the Burlington Police Officers Association told city lawmakers.
Officers began quitting, a phenomenon that occurred across the nation. Last year, the city council reversed course and tried to rehire back officers, but haven’t had much success. The current number stands at 62, Fox News reported.
Non-fatal shootings have also increased in the city. This year police reported 25 incidents since Nov. 15, compared to 13 last year and 11 in 2020.