“The policies he [Rudolph Giuliani] put into place ultimately brought down crime by 76 percent and murder in New York by 84 percent.”
— Donald Trump, speech in Pittsburgh, Sept. 22, 2016
Trump has pledged to introduce a national “stop-and-frisk” policy, of the kind that began under Rudolph Giuliani, who was New York mayor from 1994 to 2002. And in touting this plan, Trump repeated a Three Pinocchio claim.
It’s debatable whether the stop-and-frisk policies had such a direct impact on crime, as Trump suggests. Crime is affected by many factors, and New York’s decline in crime mirrored the decline in many other major cities at the time. Moreover, crime was declining for four years before Giuliani took office, and it continued to decline for 14 years after he left. (Check out this graphic by our colleague Philip Bump.)
The 76 percent and 84 percent decreases are cherry-picked data from 1994, when Giuliani took office, and 2014, when stop-and-frisk ended. Giuliani left office in 2002, and a new police commissioner was appointed under Giuliani’s successor, Michael Bloomberg.
So Trump is crediting 12 years of New York crime rates to city leadership that took office after Giuliani. Specifically under Giuliani, the homicide rate and violent crime rate each declined about 18 percentage points less than Trump said in his speech. This is quite ridiculous; it’s the equivalent of saying the tax cuts under President George W. Bush resulted in the job growth under President Obama.
Let’s keep in mind that crime, overall, has been declining for many years. A new report by the Brennan Center for Justice showed that despite recent upticks in crime (specifically the increased murder rate in Chicago), overall crime rate in 2016 is projected to remain flat.
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.
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