Deb Billado: Burlington’s crime and policing disaster

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.

Just over one year ago, the Burlington City Council passed a budget that cut the city’s police officer force by 30 percent across the board. This came on the heels of protests calling for the “defunding of the police” across the country.

How is that playing out now?

Deborah Billado, chair of the Vermont GOP

Well, from July of 2019 through June of 2020, there were 308 cases of assault. In just a year since the budget cuts, assault cases are up by 16 percent. Property crimes are on the rise too. And we’re seeing the number of shootings increase as well.

This isn’t just a blip on the radar. It has gotten so bad that L.L. Bean’s National Headquarters decided to move their Burlington location out of downtown and into Williston. One of the reasons cited was that the Burlington store had become the #1 store in the country for theft – organized theft.

Is this what the pro-defund the police crowd was hoping to achieve? Do the residents of Burlington feel safer today than they were a year ago?

In fact, now the Burlington Police Department is desperate for more staff. They’re asking for eight additional officers to help respond to the rise in “emergency situations.” Earlier this week the Progressive City Council denied that request, despite the alarming rise in crime. But fear not: the budget for mental health workers increased by $400,000. Do you feel safer?

In fact, the situation has gotten so bad that businesses in Burlington have had to fund a non-governmental “safety escort program” to secure workers leaving their jobs.

So, to be clear, the rise in violent activities following the sharp cuts in police budgets has led to a need for greater privately-funded security. Is this really what the “defund the police” crowd had in mind? These progressive policies have led to an almost libertarian form of governing where police powers, which used to be a government monopoly, are now being privatized.

This is precisely what happens when failed liberal policies come to fruition. We’re all left to deal with the unintended consequences — which, in this case, are dire.

Sooner or later, the Burlington City Council will be forced to reverse course and add additional officers to their police force. In the interim, we can’t allow this to happen in other cities and towns across Vermont. It’s up to us to point out that defunding the police has been a failed experiment; one that cannot and should not be replicated in other Vermont communities. Mental health crisis workers cannot respond to shootings — nor should we expect them to.

It is up to us to make sure that this problem does not spread to other communities. Otherwise, before we know it, it will be too late.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Taymaz Valley

11 thoughts on “Deb Billado: Burlington’s crime and policing disaster

  1. N I don’t feel safe anywhere in VT. Wondering what happens if I call 911 or police directly – not to say it’s LE at fault just unaware of what to expect.

  2. 112,704

    The Taliban are 80,000 strong. The Afgan army and police is on 200k.

    80k disaffected men, UNIFIED, a DRIVEN toward one goal, and armed with little more than small arms and hand me down equipment, were able to defeat a foe over 2x their size, funded by a TRILLION dollars! (or your tax money btw).

    Now imagine a similar group in the west. There are easily 100’s of thousands of these disaffected makes in the West Today.

    Imagine what they could achieve!!!!

    This is the lesson that the New World Order pimp, fears will be learned from the fall of Afghanistan.

    There are 112,704 UNIFIED Vermonters who have a basic understanding of the corruption and B.S. going on this state and this country. THEY KNOW, THEY ARE BEHIND ENEMY LINES!!!

    You can’t have a functioning basket ball team, when all the players are trained in hockey.
    You can’t have a functioning golf team, when all the players are trained in water skiing.
    You can’t have a functioning ski team, when all the players are trained in football.

    UNIFIED TEAM, two very important words. Right now we have a UNIFIED UNIPARTY!!!!!!

    Just say NO!

    112,704 people are standing by, with money, skills, time, ideas a love of God and Country. It could be the most peaceful, fun, profitable, freeing, unifying experiment that Vermont could hope to experience. Might we be open to a new spirit and a new truth, the truth.

    • Where are you getting numbers or is this simply more typically unprovable stats. Pls stop attempting to derail threads, co-opt the party to make it into image of failed GMP, silence Deb by diminishing messages. If 112,704 want to help the party they’re free to join – if they like yourself wish to water the message or make the party in your own image – kindly start own party, alliance or caucus and while you’re at it fire up still-functioning GMP website as discussion and comment platform.

      And, no one need join a party to vote – if anyone believe conservative values will vote as such so there is no point unless motive is aforementioned.

      • Nothing is wrong, nothing needs to change.


        That is your stance, along with disparaging anything I say. Deb is doing a fine job, at an impossible task.

        112,704 people voted for a certain candidate who has made significant changes and revealed massive corruption globally, nationally and we know it’s in Vermont.

        This certain candidate also has issues with what is going on….he’s suggesting change too.

        No change = No Victory, perhaps that is what you truly desire, for Vermont to stay the same.

        • You do not say who these phantom voters are or who they voted for Neil. And btw on record suggesting VTGOP = Deb alter message to make it favorable to your ‘constituents’ whilst welcoming these ppl who are free to join – never offer a concrete explanation and must say looks like your so-called brokering of this is another vanity project as was GMP lol

        • I do not disparage everything you say. Routinely cite numbers which are never proven and fail to back up claims with verfiable sources while ardently defending Dems and disparaging Republicans – quite a head-scratcher I might add.

          Tho you are mighty squeamish about utter the words “Donald Trump” – why not just come out and say 112,704 are Trump voters – is it because Republican Party already likely includes overwhelming majority already? And Deb is a loyal supporter of Donald Trump as well as likely the most conservative GOP chair in VT history – regularly championing his positions – which I might add you routinely criticize?

          Continued demand to ‘soften’ the message making it more palatible to Dems runs contrary to GOP, Debs and Trumps stated goals rendering whatever case you’re attempting to make which appear nonsensicle.

  3. Vermont’s elections have been rigged for decades. How else do these Marxist people get in and stay in power to destroy little Vermont? As they say, follow the money. It’s time to CLEAN UP Elections in Vermont and EVERY State in America! Full Forensic Audits NOW in Every County of Vermont!

  4. Burlington can go straight to hell. They made their crap bed, now they get to sleep in it.

    If Burlington was a person who was drowning, I’d throw them an anvil.

    It’ll be amusing to see just how awful it gets and who they’ll blame for their failures. Probably the rest of the state for not “investing in their community” enough. I’ve seen this movie before and I’m pretty sure I know how it ends.

  5. Yup, the Burlington City Council passed a budget that cut the city’s police officer
    force by 30 percent across the board last year, and a week ago they had a chance
    to fix this blunder, but nop inept fools in charge with no understanding of policing.

    Wake up people, shootings in the downtown arena, just wait until it comes to your
    neighbor……..when that happens call 911, then your city council member, don’t
    forget they work for you………..if you can call it that.

  6. Sadly Deborah, until enough tax payer, voters, are effected by the crime wave as
    LL Bean was nothing will change. Like every Liberal run city Burlapington is striving to pander to criminals not to citizens. Strict gun law’s for you, no bail, theft to 1K not a crime and no profiling criminals for the criminals… It works so well in Comifornia and Washington and Michigan

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