Monday, April 15, 2024

"Murders down 20%" versus "The Collapse in Law Enforcement". Who's right?


I (and many other independent observers) have been complaining that crime's getting worse - much worse.  Liberal and progressive commenters, on the other hand, are insisting that it's getting better.  Their view may be typified by this article, which I'm posting just as an example.

Homicides Are Plummeting in American Cities

Nationwide, homicides dropped around 20% in 133 cities from the beginning of the year through the end of March compared with the same period in 2023, according to crime-data analyst Jeff Asher, who tabulated statistics from police departments across the country.

. . .

The declines so far in 2024, on top of last year’s drop, mirror the steep declines in homicides of the late 1990s.

“There’s just a ton of places that you can point to that are showing widespread, very positive trends,” said Asher, co-founder of criminal justice consulting firm AH Datalytics. “Nationally, you’re seeing a very similar situation to what you saw in the mid-to-late ’90s. But it’s potentially even larger in terms of the percentages and numbers of the drops.” 

There's more at the link.

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Well . . . until one looks at the reality behind the numbers, that is.

The Collapse in Law Enforcement: As Arrest Rates Plummet, People Have Been Less Willing to Report Crime

The American news media has been working overtime to convince people that violent crime is dramatically falling.

. . .

But, there is a big problem with using the FBI Uniform Crime Report data on crimes reported to police because victims don’t report most crimes ... More importantly, the number of crimes reported to police falls as the arrest rate declines. If people don’t think the police will solve their cases, they are less likely to report them to the police ... This divergence arises for several reasons. In 2021, 37% of police departments stopped reporting crime data to the FBI (including large departments for Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York), and others are underreporting crimes. But also because of the dramatic decline in arrest rates.

Figure 1, presented at the top of this post, illustrates the dramatic drop in arrest rates for violent crimes reported to the police. If you compare the last five years before COVID-19 to 2022, the arrest rate for violent crime across all cities fell by 20%. But for cities with over one million people, it fell by 54%. The drops in arrest rates by type of violent crime ranged from 15% to 27% for all cities and from 38% to 58% for cities with more than one million people ... Comparing the five years from 2015-2019 to the arrest rate in 2022 shows a drop of 33% for all cities and a 63% decline for cities with more than a million people ... only 14.6% of violent crimes result in an arrest ... only 8.4% of all violent crimes resulted in an arrest. For property crimes, the numbers are even worse. With 31.8% of property crimes reported to police and only 11.9% of those reported crimes resulting in an arrest, that means that only 3.8% of all property crimes result in an arrest. For large cities with over a million people, only 1.4% of all property crimes result in an arrest.

Again, more at the link.  Plenty of statistics are provided in graphic form to illustrate the problem.

As to why people are reluctant to report crimes, the answer's obvious.  Left-wing District Attorneys and public prosecutors are minimizing prosecutions, reducing charges, eliminating cash bail, and generally making life as easy as possible for the criminals, rather than the cops.  It's not unusual in a big city to see criminals commit multiple crimes a day, because every time they're arrested, they're out on the street again within a couple of hours.  Here's one example.

Given that reality, store security often doesn't report shoplifting, because the penalties have been reduced to no more than a slap on the wrist.  Police don't bother arresting offenders that they know will be out on the street within hours, or at most a day or two, after being charged.  Citizens don't bother reporting crimes that they know won't be dealt with by police.  All that makes criminals bolder, and boosts the chances that they'll graduate from low-level, non-violent crime to more aggressive offenses.  They develop an attitude of invincibility ("The cops can't touch me!"), and proceed to test it on more and more serious crimes.  I've heard them boast about it in jail (that used to be my job, remember?).  

The same applies even to homicides.  There are plenty of them that are never reported as such.  I know cops who are quite blatant about it.  To paraphrase one of them:  "Look, I find a body on a street in the hood. Nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything, and if I try to pin anything down, everyone who lives there will get aggressive.  That leads to the precinct boss coming down on me for causing a fuss, and him having to send cops he can't spare to sort it out, and do all that extra report writing and explaining to his bosses.  I just can't win.  So, I call it in as a body I found, without mentioning anything suspicious.  The coroner comes and collects it, and I go on my way.  The coroner won't make a fuss, even if he finds a gun or knife wound.  He's got too much work as it is, and he knows most of those cases are never solved.  Result is, it'll just be filed as another random fatality - anything simple and believable to enter into the books.  I recall one case where a cop and the coroner agreed that a gunshot killing would be entered as an overdose.  Nothing criminal was reported, they both had minimal paperwork, and the precinct was happy because our statistics still looked good.  What, you think someone might dig up the body five years later to check?  Doesn't happen."

Murders involving someone with a family who cares, or someone of influence, will be investigated.  The rest?  There'll be a token effort, but it won't get very far, because detectives can't get very far with such investigations in big cities.  They each have too many cases to start with, and that means their attention is spread so thin that it won't be enough to resolve many of them.  What's more, many poorer families (and those who may not speak English very well, if at all) regard the police as their enemy.  Why would they report a murder of one of their family members when it means they have to deal with the enemy?  Even worse, if a gang is involved, it'll deal harshly with any family that implicates it or its members.  Simpler to just bury their dead, mourn as a family, then move on.  Again, I speak from experience, having dealt with rather a lot of such people.

If anyone tells you crime rates are down and big cities are safer, you know at once that they're either misinformed or lying.  Don't believe them.



Anonymous said...

This is very similar to how the government touts statistics that claim the economy is doing well when we all know it isn't.
The worst offenders I'm familiar with are inflation and unemployment, but I'm sure there are many others.
At this point, I don't trust any statistics from the government until proven.

Pascal said...

Being an author yourself, you are undoubtedly familiar with Ibsen's play, An Enemy of the People wherein a truth teller went from being seen as hero to friends and family members to becoming the title character to almost all.

It occurred to me while reading your post that with your background you might be prompted to explore more on how the world that provided fodder for an 1882 play is hardly different today. So many are smugly convinced we're a far better species. Eh?

Bob G said...

Who are you going to believe--the government, or your lying eyes? This is total gaslighting.

Almost anyone you ask can tell you that violent crime is up...way up, in many locales. I live in a quiet neighborhood, yet one of my neighbors was shot by three car burglars last year, when he stepped out onto his front porch at 4 am to yell at the "kids" breaking into his vehicle. Last week, we had a murder by a 13-year-old carjacker, right outside the local Walmart, in the middle of the day. He didn't get the car, but he killed the 65-year-old owner. The 13-year-old thug was arrested at an apartment complex a few miles away, and was reportedly driving another stolen car. Our monthly HOA newsletter used to mention a few garage doors open in the security report, now it's a 1/2-page of incidents where the cops were called, ranging from burglaries to assaults.

All this is doing is convincing more and more people that they're on their own and should act accordingly...

Chris Nelson said...

Crime stats are inconvenient to those in office and their minions in law enforcement. They have always been manipulated to some degree, but now are straight up getting under reported and falsified.

You can see most blatantly in the reports of the race of the suspect. Darn all those white people in brown and black face-paint giving diversity a bad name!

Then it comes time for a public safety bond election and voters are like, "Why do you need more money if crime is down?"

Gerry said...

Per the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice, only 42 percent of violent crimes are reported to law enforcement. Thirty-two percent of property crimes are reported.Jan 17, 2024
Major police departments, including those in big cities such as Los Angeles and New York, did not submit any data in 2021. NYPD said it couldn't submit summary statistics in 2021 as it had previously because of the FBI's change in requirements, but was NIBRS-certified this year.

Mind your own business said...

Our government and media lies to us?!?!?!? Manipulates and falsifies data??? And in order to influence public opinion?!?!? And hide the impact of their actions????

Say it ain't so!!!

It's gotten to the point where if it comes from those sources, I assume they are lying. And it's a very safe assumption.

Anonymous said...

Two prisons in Massachusetts are going to close in the next year. Officials say, “the incarceration rate is much lower, the population is lower.” Any guess why that is? Too many are just being turned loose. At least one of those prisons is a maximum security. I’m 30 or 40 miles away, but I don’t feel that’s enough. Crime is rising, and they deny it.
Southern NH

Dan said...

More Lies, damn lies and statistics.

Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine, MSP officer told me a couple months back that if you are forced to defend yourself you are likely better off doing what you have to do and simply leaving afterwords.

Sad times.


Don said...

The liars who are pushing this/these lies are so ignorant that I cannot comprehend stupidity at that level. The only thing I see is the MSM's lying about it and the cities where law enforcement/DA's aren't arresting the criminals but rather letting them go free.

MNW said...

You forgot to add: God help you if you defend yourself - that they will procicute to the fullest