All measures of crime in the 30 largest American cities — the overall crime rate, violent crime rate, and murder rate — are estimated to decline in 2017 according to a year-end analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
Crime in 2017: Updated Analysis directly undercuts any claims of a nationwide crime wave.
Key findings from the analysis include:
• The overall crime rate in the 30 largest cities in 2017 is estimated to decline slightly from , falling by 2.7 percent.
• The violent crime rate will also decrease slightly, by 1.1 percent, essentially remaining stable.
• The 2017 murder rate in the 30 largest cities is estimated to decline by 5.6 percent. Large decreases this year in Chicago [down 11.9 percent] and Detroit [down 9.8 percent], as well as small decreases in other cities, contributed to this decline. … New York City’s murder rate will also decline again, to 3.3 killings per 100,000 people.
There are of course a few cities where violent crime was up last year, including Charlotte and Baltimore. That’s true most years. But this year’s crime stats do suggest that the two-year uptick in violent crime was more of a blip than a trend. And they definitely obliterate the line pushed by the Trump administration and law-and-order types that we’re in the midst of some massive crime wave, or, as Attorney General Sessions is fond of proclaiming, that we’re seeing the largest increase in crime in decades. (This was true last year only if you go by percentage increases in the crime rate, and ignore the low baseline created by the 20-year dramatic drop in crime.)
The other line we’ve heard in the last couple years from law-and-order officials is that there’s a “war on cops,” driven they say by police criticism and groups like Black Lives Matter. Here too, proponents of the line pointed to a two-year, not-insignificant rise in the number of intentional killings of police officers. But here too, the increase came only after a two-decade drop, and here too, it appears to have been short-lived. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 43 police officers were killed by gunfire so far this year, down 34 percent from this time last year. Last year’s figure was a five-year high, but still below the average over the last 10 years, a good sign that this figure is moving in the right direction.
This is all very good news. The question now is if Trump and Sessions will continue to lie about the crime rate in America, or now that they’ve been in office for a year, if they’ll try to take credit for it.