Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims 15 Percent Drop in Violent Crime on His Watch

CLAIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed that violent crime dropped by 15 percent during his January 2009 to January 2017 tenure in the White House.


Biden told the audience at the first 2020 presidential debate, “The fact of the matter is violent crime went down, 17 percent, 15 percent, in our administration.”

The FBI data issues annual reports detailing crime levels.

The 2008 FBI report said, “An estimated 1,382,012 violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2008.”

The 2016 FBI report said, “In 2016, an estimated 1,248,185 violent crimes occurred nationwide.”

The 2008 to 2016 drop in violent crime was 9.7 percent, not the “17 percent, 15 percent,” claimed by Biden.

The drop would have been greater if Biden’s tenure had ended in 2013 when violent crime had fallen to 1,095,149 crimes. That number was 20.7 percent below the 2013 level.

But after 2013, violent crime rose 14 percent by the end of 2016 as Democrats oversaw a political uproar over police treatment of young black Americans.

Murder also rose.

“An estimated 16,272 persons were murdered nationwide in 2008,” according to the 2008 FBI report.

In 2013, 13,716 people died from “murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, ” according to the FBI report.

The 2016 report noted, “In 2016, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 17,250. This was an 8.6 percent increase from the 2015 estimate, a 16.1 percent increase from the 2012 figure, and a 0.7 percent rise from the number in 2007.”

The 2008 to 2016 rise in murder added up to a six percent increase. But the 2013 to 2016 rise in murder added up to a 25.7 percent increase.


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