Urban Murder Rates Fell For Decades. Obama’s Second Term Changed That.

crime scene Shutterstock/Shany Muchnik

Justin Caruso Contributor
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New reports on crime from 2016 show that in Obama’s last year in office, violent crimes increased. This was the second year this happened, as 2015 saw a rise in crime as well.

The Brennan Center for Justice has previously reported that the murder rate rose 13.2 percent in America’s largest cities in 2015. This reported pointed out that just three cities — Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — were responsible for more than half of the rise in homicide.

The 2016 report showed another jump in homicide in American cities by 13.1 percent, with Chicago alone being responsible for 55.1 percent of the increase in homicide.

Crime is still relatively low. After nearly two decades of declining crime rates, even increases like this still put in some of the safest recent years. However, the jump is alarming, and some believe that its concentration in urban areas can be attributed to what some call the “Ferguson effect.”

Conservative writer Heather Mac Donald has written about the Ferguson effect before, saying at the end of 2016 that, “…a drop in proactive policing leading to rising crime—is the only explanation for the crime increase that matches the data.”

When Mac Donald tried speaking at Claremont McKenna College in April, she was shouted down with chants of “Black Lives Matter!” and “Fuck the police!” (RELATED: ‘F*** The Police’: Protesters Stop Blue Lives Matter Speech)

And a Pew Research Study in early 2017 showed that 72 percent of police officers have become “less willing to stop and question people who seem suspicious.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions remarked in February on rising rates of crime, saying, “…since 2014, the murder rate in 27 of our country’s 35 largest cities has gone up. Homicide rates in Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Memphis have returned to levels not seen in two decades. Last year, Chicago had more than 4,000 shooting victims and 762 murders, and Baltimore’s murder rate was its second-highest ever.”

“These numbers should trouble all of us. My worry is that this is not a “blip” or an anomaly, but the start of a dangerous new trend that could reverse the hard-won gains of the past four decades – gains that made America a safer and more prosperous place,” Sessions added.

President Trump made fighting crime an issue of his campaign, running on restoring “law and order” to the country.

Trump’s site states, “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter.”

“Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.”

And of hostile rhetoric directed at police, the website states, “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”

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