News & Politics

FBI to Release New Report: Crime on the Rise

The FBI will release a report on Monday showing an increase in crime for certain big cities during 2015.  The report also will point out that overall crime is still below peak levels of the 1990s.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report was expected to show a one-year increase in homicides and other violent crimes in cities including Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., based on already published crime statistics.

Back in January, the FBI released a preliminary report that revealed a rise in violent crime for 2015 from the levels of 2014. In addition, the Department of Justice recently released a similar study that found the violent crime rate was 16.8 percent higher for 2015 in 56 of the nation’s largest cities.

Increased crime has been concentrated in segregated and impoverished neighborhoods of big cities. Experts said in such areas crime can best be fought through better community policing and alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent crime.

“We’re just beginning to see a shift in mentality in law enforcement from a warrior mentality … to a guardian mentality,” said Carter Stewart, a former prosecutor for the Southern District of Ohio, on the teleconference. “I don’t want us as a country to go backwards.”

The latest statistics raise many questions. Has that “shift in mentality” influenced the climbing crime rates? Has the recent public scrutiny of police forces changed the way law enforcement officers are doing their jobs?

Whatever the answers, it certainly looks like crime is continuing to rise for 2016. The yearly murder rate in Chicago is at 556 with 2719 shot and wounded and 20 people killed just last week. 

But it’s not just big cities like Chicago and Baltimore that are confronted with rising crime rates. San Bernardino has a higher murder rate than Chicago. So far for 2016, 49 people have been murdered in San Bernardino — with a population of only 216,000. By contrast, Chicago has a population of 2.7 million.

So far this year, the city has reported 49 killings, already more than last year’s total, which included the victims killed when a husband and wife inspired by Islamic extremists opened fire on a luncheon of health inspectors.

Its homicide rate tops that of Chicago, which has become the poster child for big-city violent crime and is on pace for more than 600 killings this year.

Baltimore has had 32 homicides in the last 30 days for a murder rate of more than one murder a day.  Does this indicate a problem with the Baltimore police? Back in July, Reuters reported the police force in Baltimore has been shrinking.  The number of officers fell 6% in 2015 and in the first half of 2016, more than that had already left the force.  And other police forces are seeing a decline in their forces as well.

The fall in 2015 was the biggest decline in police numbers among nine comparably-sized U.S. cities reviewed by Reuters. The police force in Detroit and El Paso shrank by 4.9 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, while Denver and Las Vegas saw increases of over 5 percent.

Why do you think the police forces are shrinking as crime is rising?