Murders Are Rising. Blaming a Party Doesn’t Add Up.

Sep 28, 2020 · 96 comments
Kyle Davis (Orlando, FL)
What maintains “law and order” isn’t the existence of the police, but rather the existence of an idea: that if you break the law, especially in a flagrant or public manner, there will be severe and immediate consequences for your transgression. But a new idea has usurped this old one—it was born in Minneapolis and spread across our country like a virus—that you can throw fireworks at the police, torch cop cars, loot Best Buy, graffiti public buildings, set courthouses on fire, tear down statues you don’t like... and see zero consequences for your actions, because “all cops are bad.” When the mayor of Minneapolis ordered his police officers to abandon their own precinct and let rioters burn it to the ground, he sent a loud and clear message: if the cops won't even protect their own property, why should they protect yours? Why should they prevent crime when they’ll just get sold out by a reckless politician? Why should they show up to work when the local DA releases dozens of people charged with resisting arrest? Why should minorities stick their necks out and help the police solve crimes when the criminals in their neighborhood feel emboldened? In my judgment, these phenomena all have their genesis in left-wing, progressive cities and their bizarre tolerance of violence done in the name of social justice. Now we’re all paying the price.
Christopher Newell (Boston, Massachusetts)
Brookings Institute: Three million more guns—The Spring 2020 spike in firearm sales.
Jim (Jersey City)
I hope that Biden studies and has these stats for tomorrow night's debate. And I hope, after presenting them, he points out that Trump is 'not telling you the truth.' Then I would add, "Mr. President, with these true figures, telling the lie you are telling makes you look stupid." Put him in his place, Joe, call him out for the liar he is.
Joanne Rumford (Port Huron, MI)
This is what I wrote on my Facebook page a while back in photo gallery with a photo at my mom's "Celebration of Life": "Food for Thought", Wednesday, February 8, 2017. This may be a stretch and I did leave a voice mail on Port Huron, Michigan's local Newspaper the Times Herald "Talkback" telephone yesterday on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 a question as to the reason for drug overdoses and overdose deaths. Has the St. Clair County Sheriff Department or Port Huron Police Department or any law enforcement agencies in Michigan or other States in U.S. ever looked into whether a person who is a Republican, Democrat or Independent as to how many deaths there are? If Public Works Director of Macomb County, Michigan, Candice Miller, can relate the amount of people flushing their toilets during the Super Bowl LV Game to sinkholes it's not unrealistic to say that politics may play a part in drug overdoses and even death.
Greg (Brooklyn)
Let's state the obvious. We are in the recent wake of a national movement to delegitimize policing, which was cheerled by this publication among others. "Abolish the police" is something the paper has repeated attempted to mainstream. This was all based on selectively promoting incendiary isolated incidents, while steadfastly refusing to provide context. The missing context: 1000 fatal police killings a year, the overwhelming majority of which were fully and obviously justified, in a nation of 330 million people and 400 million guns, amounts to a non-issue. Now we are reaping the very real consequences of stigmatizing effective policing as "racist," and no amount of misdirection will hide the problem.
AKJersey (New Jersey)
Although the NRA does not want you to know this, most murders are done with guns. States with the strictest gun laws tend to have the lowest murder (and suicide) rates. The more guns, the more murders and suicides. But COVID is far more likely as a cause of death than either of these. It is an article of faith in the GOP that gun rights are absolute, but voting rights are not. VOTE BLUE! With a Democratic President and Senate, we can expand common-sense gun regulations nationwide.
John (DC)
Anarchy by definition implies these jurisdictions have stopped enforcing the law. That would mean many of the crimes would never be reported. Do you seriously think all of the vandalization and riot-related crimes are being accurately tallied in places like Portland? Murder, on the other hand, would be relatively easy to track considering it's much rarer, is (hopefully) still being enforced in full, and pretty consistently reported as someone has died.
Third.Coast (Earth)
[[Murders Are Rising. Blaming a Party Doesn’t Add Up.]] If you work your way down the list of projected murder rates, searching google for murder victims by race, you'll see that blacks represent a disproportionately high number of murder victims. I'm sure each city has a section or side of town where murders are concentrated and that those murders are driven by gang activity, drug sales and interpersonal disputes locked into a cycle retaliation. We also know that the vast majority of murders are intraracial. People often say that poverty leads to crime, but a criminologist makes the very convincing point that murder persists in neighborhoods where there is a low level of confidence that the killers will be caught or serve serious time. Jill Leovy pointed to hyperpolicing of lesser crimes but insufficient resources dedicated to solving murders. If the president were serious about gun deaths, he would talk about suicides representing 60 percent of gun deaths and that whites commit suicide by handgun at up to three times the rate of blacks, sometimes more. But Mr. Trump is not a serious or studious or thoughtful or caring person.
Joanne Rumford (Port Huron, MI)
Are Coronavirus Or COVID-19 Deaths Political? Maybe.
dd (East Coast)
It’d be a very brave office to pull over a suspicious vehicle or stop at suspicious person in the current climate and those stops and searches do on occasion lead to guns and knifes and drugs and get criminals off of the streets. Combine this with the aggression both trump And blm protests encourage generally And here you go. Wait you see 2020.
Matt (Arkansas)
All crime is up because criminals are emboldened due to liberal policies which de-emphasize law enforcement.
Jefflz (San Francisco)
A party, the Republican Party, that refuses to accept any reasonable level of gun control in a country with massive numbers of weapons in private hands, a party the Republican Party that is headed by Trump who has legitimized racism and bigotry while diviiding this nation in a virtual civil war....and this party is without BLAME ? Please be serious!
Joanne Rumford (Port Huron, MI)
This goes back to 2017 of what I wrote down. "This may be a stretch and I did leave a voice mail on Port Huron, Michigan's local Newspaper the Times Herald "Talkback" telephone yesterday on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 a question as to the reason for drug overdoses and overdose deaths. Has the St. Clair County Sheriff Department or Port Huron Police Department or any law enforcement agencies in Michigan or other States in U.S. ever looked into whether a person who is a Republican, Democrat or Independent as to how many deaths there are?"
Jim S. (Cleveland)
Meanwhile, how are opioid deaths in all those small Republican run towns and counties faring?
dd (East Coast)
Crime rate from 90’s does pit that whole much maligned 94 crime bill in perspective.
Tom (Oakland, CA)
Do these numbers include murders by police?
CGatesMD (Bawmore)
I think of it as a country run by Republicans that has created this increase in violent crime. But then, what would you expect from a Party of Criminals?
Michael Livingston’s (Cheltenham PA)
It’s just a coincidence that murders went up when the police pulled out. Makes sense to me.
Michael (Massachusetts)
The debate about police brutality has been politicized. The reality is that some police officers handle situations differently, depending upon the race of the person/people involved. I read yesterday that recently fired Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale was taken into custody by Ft. Lauderdale police after his wife called 911 and reported that he was saying he intended to harm himself, and owned multiple weapons. The officer(s) responding were able to talk with him and to allow them to help him. He was admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital. It is easy to imagine how differently things might have gone in some cities/areas if Parscale were a black man. If police had taken a heavy handed approach, the situation might have escalated, and he may have been killed by police. Sometimes, police have no choice but to use their weapons to protect themselves and/or others from harm. Lost in the debate is that it doesn't have to happen as often as it does.
gdavidj (Mobile, AL)
This story references 3 different crime rates: rates for murder, all violent crimes and property crimes. It would be useful for the author to point out the limitations of all 3 three as measures of actual crimes committed. Of the three, the murder rate is the most valid - since suspicious deaths are typically identified correctly by the police. The other two measures are thought to be much less valid by experts for many reasons. Many crimes are not reported to the police, and police categorization of a particular crime involves considerable discretion and judgment, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from local police administration to administration (be wary of local crime statistics as your community approaches an election!). Therefore reports of trends in crime rates can generally be trusted for murder, but not for other crimes. Trends for other crimes are best measured by victimization surveys, which are generally considered more valid by experts. This caveat should be at least mentioned in all stories about crime rates.
Eric (Belmont)
Although I grew up in St. Louis, I left after college for the East Coast. That was 1985. Lots of fond memories.
RLW (Chicago)
Those cities Trump cites with increasing crime in the past few years also had Democratic leaders during the Obama years when crime was much lower. The stats don't lie. Increased crime in Portland, Settle and New York must be due to the failure of Trump's administration. Increased crime and unrest are a phenomenon of the Trump era. Therefore Trump must be responsible for the increased crime.
Jim (Boston)
People wanted to lock everyone in their houses for 6 months and people lost their jobs and businesses. The Covid19 shutdowns have been presented to us as neutral, positive moral imperative without any context. This is the context.
genXfemale (NYC)
It is always worth keeping in mind that over the decades medical science has improved, by leaps and bounds, its ability to save lives. It's impossible to know who much higher the murder rate would be if the ability to save lives remained constant since 1960.
Margaret Oliphant (Indiana)
Is this rise in murder rate related/correlated with the rise in opioid use?
K. Pena (Mexico)
Murder rates have gone up because murder is one crime you can't ignore or hide. Police forces in many major cities have resigned en masse, and the ones still drawing a paycheck aren't doing any actual policing, which is why lesser crimes have "decreased" this year. No one is reporting anything, because they know nothing is going to get done about it.
alan (MA)
The onlyreason that it seems as though there are more murders in Blue Cities is that Blue cities have a much larger population than Red Cities. This means that the NUMBER of murders in Blue Cities may be higher but the RATE of murder is not always higher.
Robert Bott (Calgary)
It would be useful to include some international comparisons. For example, the homicide rate in Canada is 1.8 per 100,000 population compared to about 6.0 in the U.S. The rate in Germany is 0.9 per 100,000. Guns plus inequality equals mayhem.
luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
@Robert Bott So how does that explain the large jump in 2020? Both income inequality and the number of guns are about the same as last year. And income inequality over the past decade or so has been rising even as the homicide rate has declined. Lets face it. Pundits do not know any better than you and I why homicide rates go up and down. Their explanations are designed to support their political leanings, not educate.
Robert Veneman-Hughes (California)
I work as a criminal justice professional, and this is what I've learned about crime stats in the last decade: The murder rate is more significant than the property crimes rate. The FBI collects statistics from many different police departments, all of whom record their crime statistics in their own idiosyncratic ways. Additionally, local jurisdictions often have strong local incentives to "reclassify" crimes -- for instance, our local police department keep reported stolen cars only in a local database for the first 24 hours before adding them to the national database. A high percentage of stolen vehicles are recovered in the first 24 hours, and so when that happens the department doesn't need to record an auto theft (though they do record a recovery.) Murder, on the other hand, has a dead body, and there's a lot less statistical wizardry you can do with a body. As a consequence, the murder rate tends to be the biggest indicator of crime generally -- while property crimes will go up or down at different rates than the murder rate, the trend line for homicide tends to be the trend line for crime across the board.
AV (Houston)
Common sense would dictate heavier policing if crime is rising, but that's "racist", so this what we must live it. Funny to hear people wanting to defund police while also moaning about murder rates. Can't have it both ways.
Robert (Out west)
Common sense often isn’t, and there are not only two choices here. Of course, I do appreciate your efforts to define the argument so that you win.
Sherry (Arizona)
If this rise in murders is related to the pandemic which has been so poorly handled by Trump, then he owns this, plus the rise in hatred, and white nationalist violence. Trump is such a bad President he is a threat multiplier.
Matt (Arkansas)
@Sherry Something tells me the 53 shootings in Chicago this weekend had nothing to do with "white nationalist violence". You need another source of news than CNN.
annabellina (nj)
A debate over gun laws might be helpful in understanding this phenomenon.
Clayton (NYC)
You can't solve spiraling crime without knowing why it's happening. There is a ton of speculation out there, but few in the media or in government seem to have a strong grasp of the underlying drivers. Obviously, there's an explanation. Communities with high crime rates have always been reluctant to share details with police, but now that has intensified. Media outlets do not want to put their reporters in danger. Elected officials rarely try to see for themselves, because that would involve truly acknowledging the problem. A lot of the violence seems to be stemming around gang beefs. With schools closed and wage jobs terminated, people are stuck at home and tempted to make a few bucks selling things (drugs, cigarettes, fireworks, etc). As demand increases, territories condense, and drug use soars, you are bound to see struggles ensue between groups. Combine that with loose gun laws in red states and a perception that cops are not putting offenders in jail - those struggles are bound to turn deadly. The cycle of retaliation will continue unabated. So the question is: how do you convince bored, angry, anxious, and poor kids that they don't need to go down that path? How do you make them feel that staying home and resisting the temptation (or sometimes coercion) to join a gang is a better alternative to quick money and respect? The immediate answer is: opportunity. Give them an alternative that sets them up for success. Both Red and Blue have failed dismally at this.
Eric (Belmont)
@Clayton Rampant crime traps young kids, obstructing any path or exit. There's just too much pressure on young vulnerable kids caught in the middle. If families can't move or relocate, what's the solution? The US has never been a benevolent society working for the greater good. We don't share a common commitment, and we're incapable of eating the same breakfast cereal. What passed for public service went out the door during the 1960s. Now everyone just wants to get re-elected.
dd (East Coast)
@Clayton you could put them in jail and thereby save the kids that don’t want a part of it from the fear of the gang members. And maybe If you put them in jail long enough their family members would work to keep them out of gangs. They use Rico for the mafia.
Susan (Omaha)
Do these numbers represent more gun-related deaths? And how much of that is due to increased gun ownership and the swagger that goes with it for some people. And guns are just too easy to get for those with short tempers or are in gangs or other revenge social groups.
The Poet McTeagle (California)
We are a society under extreme stress with a purported leader who incites more division, hate, fear, and anxiety on a daily basis. There is a killer pandemic that has forced millions into unemployment and isolation, and 205,000 are dead. That murders and crime have not risen more than they have is quite remarkable.
JPE (Maine)
Amazing that Texas, usually treated by the media as the headquarters of gun nuts in America, has not city in the 20 worst murder havens. What goes?
Diogenes (NYC)
@JPE Internationally, if you look at countries with the highest rates of gun-ownership, Canada and Finland stand out in the Top 10. Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Austria and Switzerland are all in the Top 20. And yet many of those countries ALSO have some of the lowest rates of murder per capita. I guess this whole gun violence thing is a little more complicated than we might have thought.
Nathan (NY)
@JPE At the same time, 6 Texas cities have worse rates than NYC/Seattle/Portland.
The USA have a 8 times superior violent crime rate than the average in Europe.Per capita. While having also a 8 times higher incarceration rate. Not without saying 4 times more corona virus infections per million than the European average . That is Great America !
Mike Fitz (Western Wisconsin)
Crime at 1600 Pennsylvania is at an all time high.
Alan (Columbus OH)
It can be a short walk from suicide to homicide. By one survey, approximately thirty percent of adults are showing signs of anxiety or depression and some part of that group is likely in crisis. Jobs have been lost, industries may be downsized forever and personal relationships strained in ways no one anticipated. I suspect the reduction in property crime has more to do with opportunity than motive. Unlike the increasingly rare tourists and party-goers, people at home with neighbors at home are not good targets. There is also so much money in defrauding various relief programs or sympathetic, lonely or fearful individuals that it is hard to see more "low-tech" property crime frequently being a better use of a criminal's time. The pandemic has exposed a lot of problems that were just below the surface or barely manageable in relatively good economic times. A more resilient society is not one that has no pandemics, it is one that spends the effort to minimize criminality and treat mental health problems all the time so the bad times will not be nearly as bad.
Bill O'Rights (your heart)
@Alan Fences offering bottom dollar for stolen property plays a role as well. Look at what the Iphone did to the market in electronics, photography, etc. Not much market for CD players, either.
bsb (ny)
"The F.B.I. on Monday reported a tiny decrease (0.2 percent) in the nation’s murder rate in 2019. The U.S. violent crime rate fell slightly for the fourth straight year in this official report, and the property crime rate fell for the 18th straight year, to the lowest level since 1963." Just because atrocities that used to be considered crimes are no longer termed that does not mean they are not crimes. The FBI and the MSM may skew the facts any way they want. However, on the streets the reality is much different. Crime is way up. It is just that our prosecutors no longer consider things like fare evasion, larceny, violent altercations, etc. crimes. This is on the DA's, the prosecutors, the politicians, the MSM, etc. People and property are being assaulted and destroyed. Yet, our illustrious "protectors" no longer deem these criminal acts. So, how about some reality? "The city is still on pace to have 80 percent fewer murders this year than it did in 1990, when it had over 2,000." Of course the city is on pace to have fewer murders than in 1990. David Dinkins was Mayor of NYC then. Violence and murder was "a free for all". It took Giuliani, a conservative republican, to clean up the mess that Dinkins left. "What is clear is that murder is rising across a wide swath of America — irrespective of ruling political party and of designations of “anarchist” havens — while other types of crime are generally flat or falling." "Flat or falling"? Let's get real! Ask the citizens.
BB (Geneva)
@bsb 1. The FBI has not changed its definition of crime under President Trump's tenure. All major crime categories from 2016-2020 remain the same. 2. Fare evasion isn't a major crime. 3. At the end of Giuliani's time as mayor (2000), there were 673 murders in 2000. In 2019, there were 318 murders. In 2018, there were 295 murders. So if the mayor is the one responsible, De Blasio has done better than Giuliani. 4. Impressions of crime can sometimes be just that: impressions.
Robert (Out west)
1. Fare evasion is an atrocity? Seriously? 2. If you have better numbers, let’s see ‘em.
Joe (Grosse Pointe)
@bsb what are you talking about? Knowledge is not just a belief. It is and will always be (some variant of) a "True, Justified, Belief."
CHW (Philadelphia)
The big story here is a startling rise in murder rates in 2020. Yet this article leads instead with the political debate over crime, and buries the real news about the increased killings several paragraphs in. I can’t stand the President, and I’m glad property crimes are down, but you do your readers no favors when you write articles that seem deliberate designed to downplay—for partisan purposes—the fact that murders are on the rise for the first time in several years, a development that should worry us all.
Robert (Out west)
I am not sure what’s tricky here: the article says that murder rates are up; that Trump keeps saying this is because of commie Democrats; that the numbers don’t support the president’s claim. If you’re so worried about politicizing the issue, why does Trump get a pass on politicizing the issue?
Diogenes (NYC)
@CHW That's not complete fair. They did put in this line: "a 15 percent increase in murders nationally in 2020 *would be the largest one-year increase in modern American history* in terms of both raw numbers and percent change". [ Emphasis mine ] And they didn't even bury it in a footnote to a footnote; it's right there for everyone to see once you get to the *9th paragraph* (after a bunch of charts, a photo, and links to other relevant articles). There's so much more to talk about than *the largest spike ever in the worst form of crime that we track*.
TED338 (Sarasota)
To understand and be transparent about the murder rates it must also be categorized by race. If you want to constantly use identity politics you must be truthful, consistent and use it everywhere.
LE (Santa Fe, NM)
I want to know what percentage of murders are men killing girlfriends, wives, exes and if that percentage has changed.
Bill Brown (California)
No one is buying this narrative anymore. No one. It conflicts with the facts & NYT's own reporting. You can slice & dice the numbers any way you want. Crime is spiraling out of control. The proper question to ask is who bears responsibility for enabling the violent crime wave across the U.S.? It’s evident the problem lies with elected officials who refuse to take ownership of the problem & do something about it. Minneapolis has had to abandon all de-policing initiatives because crime has exploded. Black residents are outraged & have filed a lawsuit against the city council claiming they have made Minneapolis a more dangerous place to live. So far, over 211 people have been shot since May 25, 49 fatally, with thousands of reports of gunfire across the city, including several shootings in broad daylight. Three months ago, 9 people were shot in a 4-hour span across the city. That came a day after gunfire struck 11 people during an early-morning gun battle along a busy stretch of bars in Uptown Minneapolis, in what officials called one of the worst mass shootings in the city’s history. The evil of police brutality can't be fixed by indulging criminals. We can see in Minneapolis, what we have already seen in Chicago & Baltimore. This is just where it starts. Violence in any form, & the silence which allows it is the enemy. If you are speaking out against police violence but remain silent about your own community violence; then you are part of the problem. This has to stop. Now.
Conrad (N.J.)
@Bill Brown , I get what your point but you seem to conspicuously omit is the fact that gun ownership across the nation is greater than it has ever been. After the realization that we are experiencing a health crisis, gun purchases increased significantly. After the protests related to the killing of George Floyd, gun purchases skyrocketed, so much so that gun dealers are struggling to meet the demand. This has resulted in a climate in which guns are now employed to resolve even trivial disputes that in the past may have been resolved with less lethal or even non-violent means. We are now all afraid of each other, civilians and police alike. We are the most heavily armed of all the world's developed nations yet we have the highest rate of gun violence. We have to admit the obvious fact and address it. Guns are not making us safer as a nation. They are making us less safe.
Jim (Iowa)
Well, if I have to choose between a calm analysis from the New York Times, citing facts and figures for cities across the country, and your seemingly emotional freak out mostly concerning one city, I’ll go with the New York Times. So you are incorrect. Some of us are buying.
Maria (NJ)
@Conrad And the reason people bought guns? People are afraid riot will come to them and newly defunded police will not be able to intervene.
Kelly (Michigan)
I think it’s unfair for us to only focus on crime committed in large cities; read any police blotter in rural America and you will find similar crimes being committed; add the DNR blotter and you will find: poaching, trespass, illegal dumping, and illegal mining.
BlueNorth (MN)
@Kelly Trespass and poaching are not even close to murder - which is why the FBI doesn’t track them as major crimes. Murders and violent crimes in rural communities are tracked in the same way as for cities. If there was a similar violent crime in small towns and rural areas, I have no doubt the NYT would be covering it.
Yoda (Somewhere In Galaxy)
when the police are overwhelmed, criminals are released en masse from prison and there are protests every night is this really a surprise?
afisher (san antonio, tx)
I am almost amused as the WH et al keep talking about not most of those businesses have insurance, or are we supposed to ignore that - because it does not fit the political picture donald et al are selling.
KM (Pittsburgh)
@afisher Most insurance policies don't cover riot damage. Many of these businesses are permanently ruined.
Peggy (West of the Mississippi)
@afisher I suppose vandalism is amusing to some, as long as the vandalism is not against their property.
Foodlover (Seattle)
@afisher Since when is the fact that insurance will cover it make it ok to destroy someone's property? This is the rationale used by some who have no respect for others.
Scott (Austin, TX)
If "murder" is rising but violent crime overall is falling, is it possible what's really happening is death rates going up because hospitals are swamped with COVID? Maybe it's not more violence but worse health-care outcomes?
Paul (Brooklyn)
Ok, let's go over it again what history has taught us. Murder rates go up or down for three main reasons. 1-Demographics. 2-Demographics. 3-Demographics. Just like in RE except there it is location. Idea bankrupts pols. on both the right and left will demagogue the issue to make them look good, ie bring back the police state on the right or coddle the criminal on the left. It was true in the 1990s when the murder rate dropped dramatically in all cities just like it is today when it is going up. As the old expression goes, figures don't lie but liars figure.
BB (Geneva)
@Paul But gentrification has displaced huge numbers of the "demographics" we expect to commit the crimes... The black population, for example, has declined by 3%...
Tony from Truro (Truro)
"defund" and other slogans are emboldening the people who make the numbers that these grim charts show. Look at African countries that have taken away property based on skin color and you also see the rapid rise in crime. Numbers don't lie and the general populace is astute enough to make the correlation between "identity" politics and the end goal of the radical left.
Djt (Norcal)
Cities are where lots of people live but where is the data for “rural areas in state X”. Just because cities are easily identifiable and have boundaries, does not mean they are the only places to exist. What are crimecrates outside cities? What are the names of those statistical areas and where is data for them?
Peggy (West of the Mississippi)
@Djt In the very rural area where I live, our property crimes are way up. Violent crimes are about the same. Our problem is that courts were closed for six months and have a huge backlog, and we changed some laws to reduce the prison population more small-time criminals are on the streets.
OnKilter (Philadelphia, PA)
Murder rates probably do not include police killings which are generally not thought to be murders. I believe for accuracy, police killings ought to be included in these statistics.
genXfemale (NYC)
@OnKilter The number of unjustified police killings is in the single digits. If the are found to be homicides, obviously they are included.
Third.Coast (Earth)
@OnKilter All murders are homicides. Not all homicides are murders.
DaveD (Wisconsin)
@OnKilter Sure as long as a cop is charged with murder. The online mob finds them guilty of a crime they were never charged with.
Peggy (West of the Mississippi)
It would have been more helpful to list the political parties of the mayors of the cities on the list.
Marc (Gallup, NM)
@Peggy wish i could remember the site, but one outlet did that in order to prove that it happens under both political parties and i think there were like 2 or 3 cities that had a republican mayor. honestly, that may be a generous figure and also why they did not do such here
Peggy (West of the Mississippi)
@Marc I looked them up myself but it was tedious.
This article states that the murder rate is up generally independent of party (something I accept), but I found I had to jump around and do independent research (ie which cities have Republican mayors) to use the data . Maybe one graphic could have shown, by city, this year versus last year - so the increase/decrease is clear? Maybe you could list the cities which have Republican mayors (or at least include an asterisk by the city name)? Maybe name some smaller towns or even states run by Republicans where the murder rate is climbing. We all know Trump and DOJ will twist the data, please make them clear as possible so the facts can come out.
Cousy (New England)
Isn't this really a conversation about guns? Generally speaking, the fewer guns there are, the less murder there is. With a few notable exceptions (Baltimore, Chicago and Newark especially), the cities with the largest gun death rates are in states with permissive gun laws. Also, I'm sure that suicide rates are up in states with high gun ownership.
KM (Pittsburgh)
@Cousy Gun death rates are mostly driven by suicide. If you want to know how much danger you're in you have to use the gun murder rate specifically. And those rates show that strict gun control laws don't do much.
Cousy (New England)
@KM All I know is that I live in a city of 120,000 (adjacent to a larger city on this list) with almost no guns. Not only do we have a low murder rate - 2 people have been killed in the last 20 months - but neither of those murders were conducted with a gun. And we have low suicide as well, in part because of the lack of guns. People who choose to live in gun saturated communities are a mystery to me.
M (NY)
It is not an unfair question to ask about the demographics and circumstances of the victims and the perpetrators. However , some citizens have become defensive and rationalized about the reasons for violent crime in this country when we should be united across all demographic groups against violence. Violence affects everyone.
J. Waddell (Columbus, OH)
I'm firmly convinced that the economic dislocation and mandated isolation caused by the pandemic is a major factor in the increased murder rates. The same can be said for suicides. We have to recognize that aggressive means to control the pandemic come with significant costs - both financial and physical. Finding the balance is key and we are not there yet.
Alan (Columbus OH)
@J. Waddell This is a false choice. There are non-risky behaviors that should not be restricted, but any even modestly risky behavior becomes extremely risky if the number of cases in the population increases. This may not happen on day one, but if people get too comfortable with a repeated, somewhat risky activity an outbreak is inevitable if there are a number of asymptomatic but contagious people in the area.
Jennie (WA)
@J. Waddell Also people stuck with seeing the same small group of people all the time can get on each other's nerves, and of all major crimes murder is often due to impulsive anger.
Brown Eider (Minneapolis)
There are public policy measures that could, if enacted, reduce the incidence of gyn violence in this country. Universal background checks for firearm purchases is one example, applying public health risk reduction systems to gun violence issues is another. Unfortunately, Republicans, almost universally oppose public policies that could reduce gun violence.
Ben (New York City)
@Brown Eider while what you say may be true, it doesn't help to answer why the murder rate has increased. The gun laws have essentially been the same for the last 20 years (i.e. held constant as a variable) so it is not likely that it is a major factor in the current rise in homicides.
Tony Ramdsa (Tampa, Fla)
Since cable TV and then the introduction of the internet, crime rates have fallen. Covid allowed us to burn through most of the entertaining content we care to partake. There are a lot of bored and/or desperate people right now.
Yoda (Somewhere In Galaxy)
@Ben agreed. There are other factors at work (i.e., pandemic and protests stretching the police, criminals being released en masse from prison, police being neutered and acting as such for fear of being "racist", etc.)
Peter Johnson (London)
This is interesting statistical analysis of the incredibly varied murder rates across US cities. As the author notes, Democratic/Republican mayoralty does not explain these big differences. Is there any demographic feature associated with the very high citywide murder rates of 45-90 at the top of the list and the very low citywide murder rates of 0.5-3 at the bottom of the list? The article does not provide any clues regarding these enormous disparities. It is not the political party of the mayor. Is there any other urban metric associated with these big differences?
Harvey (Chennai)
@Peter Johnson The trick in reporting that in an unbiased manner requires disambiguating poverty from all the other variables that to a very large extent dictate whether you will be rich or poor in the USA. A simpler question I have is how these rates differ by State gun laws. Massachusetts, for example, has a rigorous process for granting a license to carry where one’s local chief of police is the final arbiter. The state also limits firearm magazines to 10 rounds and prohibits folding stocks on carbines.
John Smithers (California)
Plano, Texas has the lowest murder rate listed. A cursory glance at the statistics provided in the article reveals no obvious correlation with gun law restrictions. Of course, gun laws may matter a great deal, but the signal for that is drowned out by other variables such as poverty, race, etc....
TylerBarkley (Washington, DC)
The reason demographic data is not included is because it would reveal the truth everyone already knows but is afraid to say out loud due to political correctness.
See also