The Fact Checker Recidivism Watch tracks politicians who repeat claims that we have previously found to be incorrect or false. These posts are short summaries of previous findings, with links to the original fact-check. We welcome reader suggestions.
The New Jersey governor continues to inflate his neighboring state’s murder rate statistics, with a convenient swipe at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio along the way.
Christie has a penchant for using raw and partial crime data to make this point. We’ve awarded Christie Three Pinocchios for using an uptick in murders in 2015 to rebut de Blasio’s announcement that 2015 saw the safest summer in the city in 20 years.
NYPD data show murders increased by 4.3 percent, not 11 percent, from 2014 to 2015. Christie’s latest 11 percent figure comes from a July 2015 announcement by the New York Police Department, according to the New York Times. Murders in New York City were up 11 percent compared to that point in time in 2014, but overall crime was down.
It’s problematic to compare raw numbers from a short period of time. A change in crime numbers from one year to the next can show a trajectory of where the crime trend is headed, but it does not give a full picture. Many criminal justice experts say crime trends are determined over at least five years, preferably 10 or 20 years, or data.
Claims like Christie’s contributes to public hysteria over upticks in crime that are not reflective of the overall trend: the number of murders and other violent crimes has declined significantly and consistently in New York City and other major cities. (Check out this handy graphic of larger New York City crime trends by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law, with data as of September 2015.)
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