The number of Americans murdered in major U.S. cities soared again during former President Barack Obama’s last year in office, says an admission from a left-wing legal group.
However, the Manhattan-based Brennan Center tried to bury the growing pile of corpses—including many African-Americans—from public view by claiming there is no “national crime wave.”
“[A]lthough there are some troubling increases in crime in specific cities, there is no evidence of a national crime wave,” says the report, which artificially segregates a series of cities with large African-American populations—such as Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.—from the rest of the nation.
Murder rose in 2015 13.2 percent, the Center admits, while in 2016 it rose 14 percent. Combined, that’s almost a 30 percent jump in deaths during Obama’s last two years.
The Center’s report is being touted by the establishment media as evidence that President Donald Trump is wrong about rising crime—and is pushing a “law and order” agenda is not only unnecessary but veiled bigotry. (The Washington Post headlined an article by Jennifer Rubin about the report as: “Here’s proof that Trump is ignorant and deluded about crime,” for example.)
But there’s plenty of data to explain the Brennan Center’s admission about murder rates.
A survey published by the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) found that 2,308 murders were committed in their cities during the first half of 2016, compared 2,001 in the first half of 2015, which was a significant 15 percent increase. In 2015, the association reported 6,192 murders in their cities, up by 837 from 2014. That increased 2015 murder rate added roughly 300 dead to the first six months of 2016—and the 307 deaths included 2016’s increase created a total estimated death toll of roughly 1,500 dead Americans since 2014 after the Ferguson riots. Yet Obama declared himself satisfied with the nation’s crime rate—claiming “crime remains near historic lows” and he rightfully “used my clemency power to a degree unmatched in modern history to address unfairness in the federal system” to reduce the federal prison population while conducting a “stigmatize-and-federalize” campaign against local law enforcement.
The FBI’s report on 2015 crime rates found that murder increased 10.8 percent from 2014 to 2015, the largest increase in a single year since 1971. A February analysis conducted by the Economist stated that the murder rate is rising at the swiftest pace in many years, consuming the lives of hundreds while devastating American families and communities.
The admission by the Brennan Center comes as public opposition has killed its lobbying campaign to reduce criminal penalties.
“To its credit, the Brennan Center makes little effort to hide its biases—that it favors the interests of criminal defendants while taking a skeptical if not sometimes harshly critical view of police and prosecutors,” former federal prosecutor Bill Otis told Breitbart News.
“The Center is operated out of Manhattan, and has the sophisticated leadership one would expect. It understands that the large scale sentencing reduction programs it favors—but masks with the opaque term ‘sentencing reform’—are likely to be a harder sell in Congress if the public understands that violent crime is rising.”
“After all, reducing sentences for drug traffickers is likely to be an uphill climb when it is widely known that heroin overdose deaths are spiking to crisis levels (which, regrettably, they are), or that the violence correctly understood to be a handmaiden of drug dealing is on the rise,” he added. “It is thus in the Center’s interests to put the best face on recent crime figures.”
The Center, Otis noted, insists that because crime has decreased overall—due to stricter sentencing procedures—there is no long-term rise in crime happening: “Crime has dropped precipitously in the last quarter-century. While crime may fall in some years and rise in others, annual variations are not indicative of long-term trends. While murder rates have increased in some cities, this report finds no evidence that the hard-won public safety gains of the last two and a half decades are being reversed.”
“The ironies here are delicious,” Otis said:
“As the Brennan Center knows, the ‘hard-won public safety gains’ it mentions came about for a reason. To a large extent, they came about because of a generation’s worth of big changes in public policy the Center fought tooth and nail, and is still fighting—such things as a surge in the number of police; more aggressive and proactive policing strategies, including stop-and-frisk; statutes reining in the power of naive or ideological judges; and a significant increase in the use of incarceration. Accordingly, the shrewd thing to do is what the Center does—present an ominous crime picture in a gauzy and minimizing way. Unfortunately, the thousands of additional victims of violent crime our country has accumulated over the last two years do not have that luxury.
The Center gives a backhanded acknowledgement to this troubling fact when, considerably further down in its report, it buries these two short sentences:
With violence at historic lows, modest increases in the murder rate may appear large in percentage terms. Similarly, murder rates in the 30 largest cities increased by 13.2 percent in 2015 and an estimated 14 percent in 2016.
How’s that? In our 30 largest cities (where the African American population is heavily concentrated) crime the murder rate rose by more than a quarter in the space of just two years?
The Center points to no other two-year period in our more than 200 year history in which the murder rate has risen that fast. The well regarded (and by no means conservative) site FiveThirtyEight puts it more bluntly:
‘Murder almost certainly increased substantially in the U.S. in 2016, one year after it rose at its fastest pace in a quarter century.'”
The 2016 crime statistics will not be officially released until nine months from now, Otis said, “but data from individual police departments indicates that murder rose in most of the country’s biggest cities in 2016, in some cases dramatically.”
“Because a large share of murders take place in big cities, a substantial increase there means that the country’s overall murder total almost certainly rose as well,” he added.
But President Donald Trump’s popular law-and-order agenda, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ spirited reformation of the former Obama administration’s lax policies in the face of rising crime, may yet roll back the rising murder rate and prevent the deaths of many more Americans, including African-Americans living in many major cities. Sessions has directed the 94 federal U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work with state and local law enforcement to “specifically identify the criminals responsible for significant violent crime in their districts” and to seek mandatory minimum sentences in order to reverse the tide of violent crime.