April 20, 2017

Murder Rate Rises — But That’s Not the Whole Story

Americans are safer now than any time in two decades, while three cities account for more than their share of killings.

The nationwide murder rate rose 8% in 2016, according to a report by Matthew Friedman, Ames C. Grawert and James Cullen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. That report is based on preliminary data from the FBI, which won’t be finally compiled until later this year. The number is bad, but maybe it isn’t as alarming as it sounds.

The report’s authors conclude: “Americans today are safer than they have been at almost any time in the past 25 years. Since 2014, some cities have seen increases in murder, causing increases in national rates of murder and violence. These spikes in urban violence are a serious cause for concern. But history shows these trends do not necessarily signal the start of a new nationwide crime wave, and even with these increases, crime and murder rates remain near historic lows. There is no evidence of a national crime wave.” Moreover, notwithstanding a small uptick in 2016, most of America has experienced a steady decline in crime since the early 1990s. “Today’s crime rate is less than half of what it was in 1991,” said the report. And if you’re not involved with gangs and/or drugs, your chances of being a victim of violent crime are substantially reduced.

We’d also note the huge increase in private gun ownership over the last 25 years. Coincidence?

The authors place primary blame for the increased murder rate on three cities. “Baltimore, Chicago and Houston together account for around half of the increase in murder in major cities between 2014 and 2016.” In fact, they add, thanks to a particularly bloody year, “Chicago alone was responsible for 43.7 percent of the rise in urban murders in 2016.” What do those cities have in common? Each is an urban poverty plantation that’s been run by generations of Democrats. Chicago and Baltimore in particular have been caught up in the Left’s war on cops, resulting in increased crime in those cities.

The bad news is that, while most gang violence in the last decade has occurred between gang members, that violence is now metastasizing into frequent assaults against citizens who have nothing to do with gangs. An 8% rise in murder, no matter how geographically limited, isn’t a good sign.

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