In newly released Wirepoints/RealClearOpinion polling, a majority of Chicago residents of all racial backgrounds indicated that they support the same or increased levels of police presence in their neighborhoods and also expressed that they oppose defunding the police.
The poll, released Thursday, found that support for local police presence remained high across racial lines, with 77 percent of black respondents, 79 percent of white respondents, and 87 percent of Hispanic respondents saying they want police to spend the same amount or more time in their neighborhoods. A very narrow majority of respondents (51 percent) said they oppose defunding the police, a finding that also holds consistent among each racial group.
While support for the police appears high, more than half of Chicagoans said they thought that the Chicago Police Department “is currently handling its job badly” and more than 75 percent of residents support Black Lives Matter.
Among a national sample of black Americans, Gallup found that more than 80 percent want police to spend equal or more amounts of time in their neighborhoods.
While polling unique to Philadelphians has not been released, the two cities — both in a small group of US cities with over 1.5 million residents — share some similarities. Both share significant splits across ethnic and racial lines, with Chicago’s heavily black South Side contrasting with majority-black North Philadelphia, and ethnically white neighborhoods in Chicago’s north and west ends mimicking South Philadelphia and Northeast Philly. Both have been rocked by protests, looting and violence across their urban metropolitan areas and inner suburbs this summer and fall, including coordinated looting of Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” in August after a police shooting of an armed black suspect, who survived the incident.
There are few indications that public opinion in Philadelphia would differ significantly from the results of the Wirepoints/RealClearOpinion poll.
These results closely mimic the findings of two Gallup polls conducted in late summer. Among a national sample of black Americans, Gallup found that more than 80 percent want police to spend equal or more amounts of time in their neighborhoods. The second poll found that only a small minority (22 percent) of black Americans support abolishing police departments, despite overwhelming support for other reform measures aimed at increasing officer accountability.
As Philadelphia faces a new wave of protests and riots following the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., violent encounters with the police have led to the hospitalization of more than 57 officers over the past several nightsa.
As Gallup succinctly states, these findings make it clear that while black Americans “value the need for the service that police provide,” they overwhelmingly want better-quality policing by combatting perceived systemic racism in police departments.
As Philadelphia faces a new wave of protests and riots following the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., violent encounters with the police have led to the hospitalization of more than 57 officers over the past several nights, according to Fox 29 Philadelphia.
In reaction to the widespread civil unrest, Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution Thursday banning the use of “less lethal” munitions by police officers responding to protests or other demonstrations. Such “less lethal” munitions include tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray, the former of which already had a moratorium placed on its use, PhillyVoice notes.
As for the improved community relations that many black urban residents are asking for in lieu of less policing — citizens of cities like Philadelphia and Chicago may have to wait until this bout of unrest settles.
Spencer Landis is a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Classics and is the president of Penn College Republicans. He is currently interning at Broad + Liberty. @sdlandis25.