"My main concern is that [politicians] don't care about the details, they just want to have a good sound bite and a good promotional campaign," says Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
Public safety is largely about social conditions and the extent to which people feel secure, not only in their own homes but in their communities in terms of housing and healthcare and education, food supply. If those things are all taken care of, you don't need policing as much as you would otherwise.
Those supportive of reform may be quick to reverse themselves out of fear of being cast as soft on crime, so new initiatives need to be protected with solid evidence. If a city wanted to radically reduce expenditures on policing, Butts said, “I would totally back it, but I would be terrified we would squander all the good energy by not being fully prepared.”