Instigator / Pro

THBT: The police do more good than harm in the United States


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics

After 3 votes and with 3 points ahead, the winner is...

Melcharaz's avatar
6 debates / 45 votes
YouFound_Lxam's avatar
32 debates / 7 votes
WeaverofFate's avatar
4 debates / 10 votes
Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
Three days
Max argument characters
Voting period
One week
Point system
Winner selection
Voting system
Contender / Con

The burden of proof in this debate is shared. Pro will attempt to prove that the police do more good than harm, and Con will attempt to prove that the police do more harm than good.

Round 1
The evidence shows that police in the United States do more good than harm. The benefits of police activities, including crime prevention, emergency response, community engagement, victim support, and youth mentorship, are supported by quantitative data and empirical research.

1. Crime Prevention and Reduction:
With no threat of punishment, criminals will kill people. Getting rid of law enforcement is akin to legalizing every crime. Without police, every murderer, rapist, and child abuser in prison would still be roaming the streets. Furthermore, the evidence continues to show that crime rates are also sensitive to the number of police officers present, proving that police activity is necessary in maintaining public order.

New York City Crime Reduction
In the 1990s, a combination of smart policing tactics and increased community involvement led to a dramatic decrease in crime. One of the biggest contributors was an increased arrest rate, which in turn led to a decrease in burglaries, robberies, murders, assaults, and motor vehicle theft. The NYC police force grew by 35% in the 1990s, which helped to expedite the decline in crime. This provides strong evidence that increased police involvement leads to reduced criminal activity.

Police Hiring Reduces Crime
In 2002, economist Steven Levitt published a paper showing that studies consistently find a positive relationship between increased police hiring and reduction of crime. Specifically, a 10% increase in the number of police leads to an expected 3-10% decrease in crime. These findings have held up consistently with new studies, including one that studied “high alert” periods of more intense policing and found significant reduction in crime.

Reductions in Police Funding and Increases in Crime
As a result of “Defund the Police,” and other similar movements, crime rates increased dramatically. Aggravated assaults rose by 12.4%, while the murder rate increased by 29.4%. These increases were most pronounced in areas where police funding was dramatically reduced. The firing of the hard-on-crime police chief Alfonso Morales and 120 police officers led to widespread lawlessness and a 70.5% increase in Wisconsin’s homicide rate.

2. Public Safety and Emergency Response:
Lives Saved in Active Shooter Incidents
An analysis of active shooter incidents found that shooters were stopped directly by the police 28.1% of the time. In most cases, police arrive in 3 minutes or less. Shooters also commit suicide in a significant number of cases, likely knowing that they will be killed or arrested by police. Police response times also have a significant effect on the number of casualties, especially since those with critical injuries cannot be treated until the shooter is subdued. This suggests that an active and rapid police force is necessary to help mitigate the effects of active shootings.

Reduction in Traffic Fatalities
While studies conflict on the effects of more intense traffic enforcement, most research shows that the existence of traffic enforcement reduces unsafe driving and crashes. Speeding and aggressive driving, for example, can be reduced by an overall perception that the rules of the road will be enforced. Without police officers enforcing the rules of the road, traffic laws are effectively useless. DUI laws have led to decreased rates of drunk driving, but without anyone to enforce these laws, they will almost certainly go ignored.

3. Community Engagement and Support:
A new form of policing that is growing in popularity involves more active community support and engagement. Often called “community policing,” this practice involves an umbrella of methods, including engagement programs and educational initiatives.

Benefits to Community
Community policing has been shown to improve relationships between fire, building inspection, zoning and health departments. It also helps citizens to connect with social service programs, as well as address root problems behind many crimes.

Community Policing Effect on Crime
Increased funding for community policing reduces crime. This study draws from four separate data sources and found that community policing reduced crime significantly in cities with populations over 10,000.

4. Victim Support and Advocacy:
Improved Victim Outcomes
Victim support programs offer crisis intervention and psychological support. This involves allowing victims to vent and connecting them with other support programs. It also involves preparing victims for case proceedings and investigations.

Higher Conviction Rates
By preparing victims to testify in court and connecting them with resources, these programs often lead to increased victim satisfaction, helping them to testify and convict their assailant. This is especially true of domestic violence victims, who tend to be motivated by self-protection and are more likely to call police. Being more prepared to testify in court or more aware of legal proceedings can help victims walk away more satisfied. Not to mention, without police, perpetrators would never be arrested in the first place.

5. Youth Engagement and Mentorship Programs:
Positive Impact on Youth Development
Youth engagement programs offer positive role models and tend to lead to healthier development for youth and help them to connect with peers and educational opportunities. Population-specific mentoring for children of incarcerated parents or those in foster care can help increase opportunities for emotional support.

Reducing Youth Involvement in Criminal Activities
These programs can also help to decrease juvenile crime. The presence of experienced authority figures can help to end cycles of crime and help teens participate in healthy activities. These programs target substance abuse and youth violence by providing education and access to community resources.


The effects of policing on crime, safety, and community cannot be ignored. Police provide safety and stability while also serving as a defense against general lawlessness.

Without the police force, how would the world be? How would we regulate laws, or just morals? It would be anarchy chaos. 
Round 2
I think my opponent is confused. As Pro, I am the one defending the police.

Extend all arguments.
Round 3