Murder rates in the nation’s biggest cities have climbed by 11 percent in 2015. But that’s no big deal, says the progressive Brennan Center for Justice.
“This increase is not as startling as it may first seem,” said the new report, titled “Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis,” which projects the 2015 murder toll in 25 cities at a mere 3,668 dead.
“Because the underlying rate of murders is already so low, a relatively small increase in the numbers can result in a large percentage increase… murder rates are roughly the same as they were in 2012, and 11 percent higher than they were in 2013,” said the report.”One year’s increase does not necessarily portend a coming wave of violent crime.”
But the extra murders during Barack Obama’s seventh year as president will add up to roughly 400 dead Americans in 25 of the nation’s 30 biggest cities, according to the Nov. 18 report. That is 400 times the number of Americans killed in the August 2014 incident that set off riots in Ferguson, Mo., and helped launched the “Black Live Matter” movement.
Anyway, the overall crime rate is down 1.5 percent, the progressive authors of the report say. “It is important to remember just how much crime has fallen in the last 25 years. The crime rate is now half of what it was in 1990, and almost a quarter (22 percent) less than it was at the turn of the century,” says the report, which comes one year before the 2016 election.
The report’ effort to downplay the murders shows Democrats’ rising concern about the political danger to their priorities posed by the 2015 murder increase. In the 1970s, the public’s worry about fast-rising crime helped defeat many Democrats, and helped elect many GOP governors, as well as Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
The current rise in murder rates may kill the broad push by progressives and liberal Republicans — including House Speaker Paul Ryan — to roll back the tough 1980s criminal justice reforms that helped force down the 1970s crime rate.
The rollback includes a bureaucratic effort to release tens of thousands of criminals from jail, and and a push in Congress to sharply reduce the prevalence of mandatory-minimum jail sentences that keep criminals in jail for many years. However, say critics, the release of criminals, and softer treatment of suspect criminals, may allow them to commit additional crimes.
The murders may also checkmate Obama’s “Ferguson campaign.” That’s his media-magnified campaign to use the deaths of blacks youths to stigmatize and reverse the post-1970s, tough-on-crime policies adopted by many state and local governments.
Obama is already trying to sideline public worries about the rising murder rate. In fact, the new report mimics the careful choice of words that Obama has used to conceal the extra dead, most of whom are African-American or Latino.
“So far, the data shows that overall violent crime rates across the nation appear to be nearly as low as they were last year and significantly lower than they were in previous decades,” Obama told a huge roomful of police officers Oct. 27. “The fact is, is that so far at least across the nation, the data shows that we are still enjoying historically low rates of violent crime,” he added.
That “nearly as low as” formulation allows him to sidestep the fact that murder is rising on his watch — and the fact that top government officials are indirectly blaming the murder rise on his “Ferguson Campaign.“
‘“I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year,” FBI director James Comey said Oct. 23. “And that wind is surely changing [cops’] behavior,” he added.
Chicago is on track for 496 murders in 205, New York should reach 357 murders and Detroit is heading towards 294 murders, said the report. Los Angeles should reach 288 murders, and Philadelphia should top out at 243 murders, says the report and Baltimore’s murders may reach 320, the Brennan report said.
However, the report also excluded murders in five major cities, including Nashville, Tenn. That city — and its fast-growing population of poor migrants — may reach 70 murders by the end of the year, up roughly 70 percent from 41 murders in 2014.
The rise in crime during the 1970s had a huge impact on culture and politics.
The crime spike was garishly displayed via Hollywoods products, especially its vigilante movies — “Dirty Harry,” in 1971, “Death Wish” in 1974, and Taxi Driver” in 1976. Crime reached such levels that the crime movies became cult-movies and science-fiction movies, such as “The Warriors” in 1979 and “Escape From New York” in 1981.
The movies applauded tough cops and vigilantes — “Dirty Harry,” in 1971, “Death Wish” in 1974, and “Taxi Driver” in 1976. Cult-movies and science-fiction were also built around city-wrecking levels of crime, such as “The Warriors” in 1979 and “Escape From New York” in 1981.
Even some liberals are recognizing the disastrous 2015 crime spike.
“In the rush to defend police reform efforts against critics brandishing the Ferguson Effect, too many well-intentioned people have lost sight of the profound trauma that is visited upon communities when they are torn apart by routine acts of murder,” says an article in Slate. “That trauma should not be denied or played down—and if there’s more of it this year than there was last year in Baltimore, or in St. Louis, or anywhere else, we should call it what it is: a catastrophe that demands our attention.”