As if it weren’t already obvious from looking outside our own windows or reading the news, the FBI recently confirmed that Americans weren’t exactly on our best behavior last year during all of the plague and riot stuff.
My colleague A.J. Kaufman had the story:
The FBI’s annual report Monday made official what most unfortunately presumed: The United States in 2020 experienced the biggest rise in murders since the start of national record-keeping 60 years ago.
The Uniform Crime Report detailed a murder increase of nearly 30 percent.
The previous largest one-year change was a 12.7 percent increase back in 1968. The national rate of murders per 100,000, however, still remains about one-third below the rate in the early 1990s.
The FBI data show around 21,500 total murders last year, which is 5,000 more murders than in 2019. More than three-fourths of reported murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest rate ever reported.
Now before you start jumping to conclusions about a correlation between the leftist fever to defund the police and a huge jump in the nation’s murder rate, you should probably be aware of the fact that the Democrats want you to know that there’s no problem at all.
That’s right, the same people who want us all to live in mortal fear of being breathed on by a stranger at Kroeger are trying to poof away a pile of bodies.
A robust debate has broken out over the underlying causes of the surge in violence across the country that began last summer. Was the pandemic to blame, or the riots after George Floyd’s death? That debate has been healthy, but an indefensible position occasionally crops up: partisans who insist, against all evidence, that rising crime is nothing to worry about. That was the view taken by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who labeled such concerns “hysteria” this past June. And it’s the view propounded in a new report from the think tank Third Way, whose policy chief, Jim Kessler, similarly suggests that “hysteria” about crime has gripped the nation.
Third Way’s brief has attracted the attention of commentators eager to downplay rising violence. NBC’s writeup on the report has been widely shared. But the report’s claims that the crime wave is made up don’t withstand scrutiny. Even Third Way’s own statistics confirm the surge in violent crime that serious analysts have been warning about.
It’s not surprising that AOC had the wrong take–she is America’s Dumbest Bartender, after all. NBC’s eternal leftist hackery never surprises either. In the write-up mentioned above, the headline assures us that “overall crime” was down. The statement was technically true, but NBC was practically employing a team to bury the lede there.
It is no secret that statistics can be spun, tortured, and rearranged in ways that can make a little part of what’s being examined seem like the whole thing. That is precisely what happened with the conclusion from Third Way.
More from City Journal:
These results are exactly what anyone following crime statistics since last year would expect: a decline in most property crime (as well as rape, which is infamously difficult to track), and an increase in homicide, assault (a proxy for shootings), and grand theft auto.
Explaining that trend is simple. Most property crimes fell as lockdowns and Covid restrictions sent people home and shuttered businesses, reducing the opportunity for offending. Simultaneously, grand theft auto rose as cars and streets became less attended. Violence, meantime, spiked last summer, a trend likely driven by anti-police protests and ensuing de-policing. Property crime might have risen, too, except that concurrent policy pressures kept opportunities for offending low while funneling trillions of dollars in relief to individuals who might otherwise have turned to theft amid the recession.
Inexplicably, Third Way’s analysts do not consider this explanation. Instead, they reduce any increase in crime to the murder spike, waving away the aggravated-assault increase (and the ample evidence of surging gun violence). Murder may be up 30 percent, they argue, but property crime is down; nothing to see here.
I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that all of those extra dead people probably didn’t have their houses broken into. And Nicole Brown no longer had a headache after O.J. left that night.
The reason that the people who are left-of-center in American politics want to downplay the carnage is that they all spent the summer of 2020 cheering it on. “Cops Bad, Violence Good” was their summer lockdown vacation theme. We all remember the image of the CNN reporter standing in front of a burning building and telling his audience that the protests were “mostly peaceful.” These leftist cretins were spinning the violence while it was happening, so of course they are going to continue to do so now.
There is also the fact that any discussion of an increase in violent crimes last year brings to the fore the above-mentioned correlation with their defund the police insanity, which began proving itself to be a horrible idea almost immediately.
Democrats still want you to be afraid, but only of people who won’t get vaccinated or wear masks while taking a shower. The real scary stuff — murder, assault, spiraling inflation, a resurgent al Qaeda — is just a product of your anti-science Rethuglican imagination.
They won’t be happy until we are permanently living in a post-reality reality.