Crime Is a Democratic Problem
Because politics isn't fair.
1. Crime Is Up?
You have perhaps seen the stories about how crime is suddenly way up and this is a super-duper big problem for Democrats.
This proposition is half right.
Some types of crime are up—specifically gun-related homicides. Non-homicidal violent crime is not up. Non-violent crimes are down.
Here’s the graph on non-homicidal violent crime:
We’ve been flat since pretty much 2011. Now here’s the graph on homicides:
Definitely a jump—that began in 2014. And the real jump came from . . . 2019 to 2020. When Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the presidency.
Tell me: How many stories did you read in 2020 about voters holding Republicans responsible for the rise in homicides?
You see this at the national level, but also at the local level. Here’s a story from Axios this morning about the record number of murders in D.C. in 2021. Which is both true and very bad. But also, 2021 is not really an outlier for D.C. homicides. It’s part of a trend that began in . . . 2018.
Here’s a story from the weekend about Philadelphia recording its 500th homicide and the subhead is: “The administration convened the gathering hours before the city's 500th homicide, tying to record for the most in modern history.”
That sounds very bad! Like Philly has suddenly turned into a dystopian hellscape. But that’s not what has happened. What has happened in Philadelphia is that homicides began increasing in 2017 and have steadily increased each year since.
Remember all of the “Republicans are in trouble because voters don’t like their handling of crime” stories from 2017 until 2020? Me neither.
And again: Non-violent crime has, just by the numbers, continued to trend downward.
Yet none of this stops voters from coming to their own conclusions. Gallup asks voters if they think crime is up nationally and then if they think crime is up where they, personally, live:
2. The MSM and Their Damn Narratives
How do you explain this dichotomy? Judd Legum takes a stab at it today:
[O]n June 14, 2021, a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco tweeted a cellphone video of a man in Walgreens filling a garbage bag with stolen items and riding his bicycle out of the store. According to San Francisco's crime database, the value of the merchandise stolen in the incident was between $200 and $950.
According to an analysis by FAIR, a media watchdog, this single incident generated 309 stories between June 14 and July 12. . . . The theft has been covered in a slew of major publications including the New York Times, USA Today and CNN.
In most coverage, the video is presented as proof that there are no consequences for shoplifting in San Francisco. But the man in the video, Jean Lugo-Romero, was arrested about a week later and faces 15 charges, including "grand theft, second-degree burglary and shoplifting." He was recently transferred to county jail where he is being held without bond.
Bet you never heard that second half. But wait—there’s more!
Legum then drops the hammer about another big-time crime at Walgreens: