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The liberal Brennan Center at NYU has a report out on crime trends that tries to shore up the reputation of the Obama Administration, but the details can be alarming. It begins on a cheerful note:
Crime Trends: 1990-2016
Matthew Friedman, Ames Grawert, James Cullen
April 18, 2017
Crime has dropped precipitously in the last quarter-century. While crime may fall in some years and rise in others, annual variations are not indicative of long-term trends. While murder rates have increased in some cities, this report finds no evidence that the hard-won public safety gains of the last two and a half decades are being reversed.
Do you hear us? No evidence!
For grins, here is Jennifer Rubin spinning the Brennan Center report in, of all places, the Chicago Tribune:
See? All is well. Or as the always even-handed and sober Washington Post headlined Rubin’s write-up of the Brennan report:
But then the Brennan Center goes on to say:
The national murder rate rose 10 percent in 2015, to 4.9 per 100,000, and is estimated to increase by around 8 percent in 2016 to 5.3.
So that’s about a 19% increase in homicide nationally from 2014 to 2016 (1.10 times 1.08 = 1.188), an era in which homicide should have fallen a few percentage points due to ever improving emergency health care (not to mention huge increases in video surveillance capabilities, which ought to be sharply discouraging crime). Here’s their graph of the national murder rate from 2000 to 2016 (my screenshot):
These increases place the national murder rate around 2008 levels. In the 30 largest cities, murder rates rose by 13.2 percent in 2015, and 14 percent in 2016.
So that’s a 29% increase in murders in the 30 biggest cities over the last two years of the Obama Administration.
(By the way, one way to make this sound less bad is to fail to multiply the percentages together. People reading it will tend to get confused by the numbers 13.2% and 14% and assume that means there was no real increase from 2015 to 2016.)
In other words, most of the big spike appears to be in black-on-black murders since the emergence of #BlackLivesMatter as a much celebrated force for good at the time of the Ferguson brouhaha in August 2014. Hispanics and whites don’t seem to be shooting each other much more, just blacks killing blacks ever since the Establishment went into a frenzy over #BlackLivesMatter in the second half of 2014.
Funny how that works …
Even so, today’s “inner cities” are safer than at almost any point in the past.
As long you define “the past” to be “since NWA’s Straight Outta Compton album launched the gangsta rap era in 1988.” Plus, while your chance of getting shot in the inner cities is a lot higher than during JFK’s administration, the EMTs are a lot more likely to save your life. So there’s that, which is nice.
These increases were highly concentrated. More than half of the 2015 urban increase (51.8 percent) was caused by just three cities, Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. And Chicago alone was responsible for 43.7 percent of the rise in urban murders in 2016. It is important to remember the relatively small base from which the percentage increases are calculated.
“These increases were highly concentrated” in BLM cities, but who is counting?
Baltimore was of course home to the Freddie Gray BLM fiasco in March 2015. (Washington DC may be a spillover from Baltimore. I don’t know.) The big homicide spike in Chicago dates from the release of the video in November 2015 of the Chicago PD’s apparent bad shooting of Laquan McDonald. (St. Louis isn’t one of the 30 biggest cities, so the post-Ferguson rise in black on black killings in St. Louis isn’t counted in this report.)
That’s a lot of incremental dead black bodies in the wake of the Ferguson brouhaha. Especially since the first two big BLM cases — Michael Brown in Ferguson and Freddie Gray in Baltimore (not to mention the precursor Trayvon Martin case) — turned out to be factual fiascos of Fake News …