Homicide is surging in major cities across the country, with Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Memphis hitting murder rates not seen since the 1990s.
“Murders in Chicago last year rose to their highest rate since 1996, with 27.8 homicides for every 100,000 residents, based on police and the latest census data,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Memphis equaled its highest rate last year in a Federal Bureau of Investigation database that goes back to 1985, at 32 murders per 100,000 residents.”
The spike is attributed by some experts to gang violence, the persistence of poverty and the apparent abundance of firearms. There is also a worry that some of the violence in major cities seemed to follow the shootings of black men by police officers, such as in Baltimore and Milwaukee, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Some have dubbed this the “Ferguson Effect.” The Ferguson Effect occurs when police officers don’t patrol as proactively due to the fear of having their career or reputation ruined by becoming the center of a similar controversy.
In Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson’s career was ruined by false allegations that he shot Michael Brown while he had his hands up. This sparked the slogan “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” which was repeated by the press as fact in the days after the shooting:
Eric Holder’s Department of Justice later cleared Wilson of any wrongdoing in the case of Michael Brown’s shooting. (RELATED: Holder Admits ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Claim Was Bogus)
President Donald Trump made rising crime an issue in his campaign, with his presidential website stating, “The Trump Administration is committed to reducing violent crime. In 2015, homicides increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities.”
“Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing. Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter,” his site also says.
As nationwide crime still remains somewhat low, certain cities’ violent crime rates are spiking. Some suggest better community-police relations could also decrease crime.