Bill Hutchinson of ABC News reports that 12 U.S. Cities have broken annual homicide records this year. Five of these cities topped the homicide record they set in 2020. While much media coverage has been focused on New York, with 443 homicides so far this year, and Los Angeles with 352 homicides so far, Philadelphia has beaten them both with 521 people killed as of December 6. To provide some perspective, Philly has a population of 1.5 million. New York has 8.4 million and LA has 3.4 million. The other record breaking cities are Portland, Indianapolis, Toledo, Rochester, Columbus, Baton Rouge, Louisville, Saint Paul, Tucson, Albuquerque, and Austin. Although these cities are located in states with varying political leanings, they all have something in common with Los Angeles, New York and other high crime cities like Chicago and DC; they all have liberal democrat mayors and with the exception of Baton Rouge, democrat-controlled city councils. The Baton Rouge city council is split 5-5. All but one, Indianapolis, have progressive, pro-criminal District Attorneys, and the new pro-law enforcement DA in Indy was just elected last year.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report last year’s 30% increase in the national murder rate was the largest single-year jump since statistics have been kept 60 years ago. The article cites experts who are unsure about the cause of this increase but they speculate that it might be the pandemic, or fewer police resulting in fewer arrests. How did we get fewer police? Maybe it was the de-fund the police movement that began in big cities in 2019 and exploded nationally with the death for habitual felon and drug addict George Floyd? Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Seattle’s “summer of love” Mayor Jennie Durkan among others were vocal advocates for the Black Lives Matter demand to cut police department budgets because the U.S. criminal justice system was “systemically racist.” With regard to policing, it is important to factor in the “Ferguson effect” which is shorthand for police backing off patrols of high crime urban neighborhoods where their patrol cars were shot at, pelted with rocks and set of fire over the summer of 2020 and where officers were openly and physically attacked while walking the streets on patrol or attempting to make an arrest.
But the crime were seeing today is not just a policing problem. It is also a leadership and policy problem which for those who have been paying attention was predictable several years ago. As the country begins looking for solutions to the crime epidemic, that only the most politically blinded deny is sweeping across America, the wise choice will not only be to remove the policies that invited increased crime, but also the politicians that encouraged those policies.