Public Scholarship

7 Myths About "Defunding the Police" Debunked

Key Observations

  • The movement seeks to demilitarize police departments and reallocate funding to trained mental health workers and social workers to reduce unnecessary violent encounters between police and citizens.
  • Research has found that the police don’t have a notoriously efficient track record of solving violent crime.
  • If we are effective, funding public health approaches will reduce the reliance on law-and-order policing, save lives and reverse the longstanding slide in the wrong direction.


As public demand to reexamine the role of police grew during the summer of 2020, the term "Defund the Police" was used in numerous demonstrations and all across social media. Since growing in popularity, the term has been misinterpreted by police, politicians, and news outlets, with some calling it unrealistic to falsely believing the true goal is to abolish the police.

This mischaracterization of the movement is not based on fact but rather fear. In this Brookings Institute article, the Center for Justice Research addresses seven common myths associated with the defund campaign with the goal to demonstrate that while some have labeled it a radical movement, the Defund the Police philosophy is based on well-researched, evidence-based positions.

Read the full article here.