Sept 28, 2016 by Bob Adelmann
Statistics from the FBI’s report Crime in the United States, 2015, released September 25, confirm previous reports that the long decline in violent crime has ended. Murders in the United States in 2015 rose by 10.8 percent over the previous year, dwarfing any increases seen over the last 20 years. And the rise continues into 2016, with reported homicides up another 15 percent through June compared to the same period last year.
In June of 2015, BBC News reported that the murder rate in New York City rose 20 percent from a year earlier, in Baltimore by 37 percent, in Los Angeles by 27 percent, and in Houston by nearly 50 percent. Looking at those numbers, BBC’s head of statistics, Anthony Reuben, concluded that there wasn’t anything to worry about: “It is usually a mistake to declare a trend based on a few months of figures for a handful of cities. It is also difficult to blame this selection of figures on a nationwide problem with US policing or anything else for that matter…. We will need considerably more data over a longer period to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions.”
Thanks to the FBI for providing that “considerably more data” and one now waits for Reuben’s updated analysis and conclusions.
In the meantime, the White House continues to deny reality. In July President Obama said, “The fact of the matter is that the murder rate today, the violence rate today, is far lower that it was when Ronald Reagan was president, and lower than when I took office.” His Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, echoed her boss: “It is important to remember that while crime did increase last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades.”
But not in Baltimore, where murders soared from 211 in 2014 to 344 in 2015, and violent crime rose 14 percent. And not in St. Louis, where violent crime rose seven percent and the number of murders jumped by eight percent. And not in Chicago, where 2014’s numbers (2,988 shooting victims) have already been eclipsed (3,210 through September 27), on target to reach more than 4,200 if current trends hold. That would be a 43-percent increase year over year for the Windy City, Obama’s hometown.
Richard Rosenfeld, professor of criminology at the University of Missouri St. Louis, was initially skeptical that such increases could be traced to the Ferguson Effect, the “de-policing” by law-enforcement officers concerned that vigorous enforcement of the law would lead to personal sanctions and criminal charges with little support from their superiors. But looking at preliminary data from 56 large cities through early May this year, he found evidence that most of the increased violence came from only 10 cities which, at the time, showed an average 33-percent increase from the same period a year earlier. Said Rosenfeld, one statistician not wedded to his previous conclusions, “These aren’t flukes or blips; this is a real increase.” He added: “My views have been altered.”
While the White House remains in a state of denial, FBI Director James Comey has been more forthright, calling the latest statistics the result of a “chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year.”
At first blush, this evidence appears to call into question the underlying premise and conclusion that John Lott reached while studying the impact of private gun ownership and violent crime. The third edition of his landmark study More Guns, Less Crimeconfirmed that, indeed, increased ownership of firearms in the hands of private citizens could be directly correlated to the persistent and continuing decline in violence. That study has served to change the minds of many predisposed to write it off as propaganda, one such person being a Ph.D.-holding tenured professor “whose immersion in the insular politics of academia had led me to harbor many negative perceptions about firearms.” But after analyzing Lott’s statistical work, “I turned up enough information over the course of two years to completely change by view about guns.” This professor added:
On all counts, [Lott’s work] constitutes powerful evidence that the likely presence of a defensive firearm has a statistically significant deterrence effect on criminal behavior. More concealed carry permits lead to a net decline in assaults and deaths, and a net decline in the financial costs to society. Moreover, these benefits apply to all citizens — not just those who are armed — and they increase over time, as the number of carry permits rises. They also have the greatest positive impact on African-Americans and women.
If this is so, what explains the explosion in violence in big cities such as Chicago and elsewhere? As we noted just two weeks ago, activists associated with the Black Lives Matter and other such movements have worked successfully to intimidate local police into withdrawing from active law enforcement, giving criminals the opportunity to create havoc and mayhem:
Founded by Marxist revolutionaries in 2013, BLM is closely affiliated with a vicious hard-left communist revolutionary outfit called the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO). This is a Marxist-Leninist organization that calls for the overthrow of capitalism, to be replaced by a communist dictatorship.
The BLM is informed by the FRSO’s view of America as an inherently and irredeemably racist nation where “white privilege” is ubiquitous and “national oppression [of blacks] is at the heart of [the nation’s] economic, political and ideological traditions, and the oppression of the African American people in particular have been central to the U.S. class struggle.”
The FRSO calls for “a social system where … wealth is not in the hands of a few billionaires, but is controlled by the people.” Of course, the FRSO intends that, following the destruction of capitalism, it will represent “the people” in setting up the new dictatorship.
To get there, however, local police must be replaced by federal police, and the best way to do that is to create distrust among the citizenry over local police, leaving the way open for a federal “gestapo” in charge of keeping the peace and removing recalcitrants and other anti-communists in the process.
As the report from the FBI shows, their efforts are succeeding and will likely continue to succeed until such time as sufficient awareness has been created about what really is afoot in Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere. Only then can local law enforcement regain the ability to rein in criminal activities and restore innocent citizens’ trust.