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Fact Check: Trump on crime statistics and stop-and-frisk

“In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings. … Stop and frisk worked very well … it brought the crime way down [in New York City].”
–Donald Trump

THE FACT CHECKER | Trump cherry-picks the increase in violence in Chicago, but this is not indicative of overall crime rates, which have been declining for years. Moreover, while Trump says stop-and-frisk policies should be enacted in Chicago as it was implemented in New York City, those policies have not been correlated with crime.

While violent crime overall has been declining for about two decades, there was a sharp increase in the violent crime rate in 2015. Homicides have continued to spike in major cities this year, though the rates remain far below their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Law enforcement officials, including the FBI, have voiced concerns about the uptick in crime in 2015.

Criminal justice experts warn against comparing crime trends from short periods of time, such as month over month or year over year. An annual trend can show a trajectory of where the trend might be headed, but still 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, of data.

Trump praises stop-and-frisk policies under former New York City mayor Rudolph Guliani. But 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.

We awarded Three Pinocchios to Trump’s claim attributing stop-and-frisk policies to the decline in crime.

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