Thinking Citizen Blog — Rising Crime Rates — Conflicting Perspectives

Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day

Today’s Topic — Rising Crime Rates — conflicting perspectives

So what is the “truth” about rising crime rates? Are analysis and conclusions entirely a function of partisan bias? Is there any way of teasing out reality? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborarte, elucidate.

NEW YORK CITY — crime rates rising, how big a deal, multiple theories as to why

1. “Since May, the city has recorded 791 shootings, a more than 140 percent increase over the same period in 2019. The 180 murders seen between May and August is a more than 51 percent increase compared to 2019.” (NYT, 9/2/20)

2. “Still, this year’s numbers are far lower than the peak levels of crime seen in the 1980s and 1990s, and the recent rise in shootings and murders come after years in which the city saw violent crime drop to low levels not seen since the 1950s…The percent change numbers look shocking because we’re doing so well, not necessarily because we’re doing so poorly,”

3. “How much of that is Covid? How much of that is social unrest? How much of that is the policing response to that. At this point it’s far, far too early to really be able to say.” (John Pfaff, law professor, Fordham University)


1. “Only 10 percent of Americans correctly believe that crime has fallen over the past decade, while 57 percent think crime has increased.”

2. “If it bleeds, it leads.” Local news coverage is a big factor.

3. Is “talking about crime” a “cover for racist attitudes”?

THE “MINNEAPOLIS EFFECT” — Paul Cassel, law professor, University of Utah

1. “Before May 28, Chicago had almost the same number of homicides as in 2019. Then on May 31, 18 people were murdered in Chicago — the city’s most violent day in six decades. Violence continued through the summer. July was Chicago’s most violent month in 28 years.”

2. “Chicago’s shooting spike reflects what is happening in major cities across the country….what changed in May?” Cassell’s answer: anti-police protests resulted in a redeployment of police away from their normal duties.

3. The result? “About 710 more homicides and 2800 more shootings in June and July alone. The victims of these crimes are disproportionately African- American and Hispanic, often living in disadvantaged and low-income neighborhoods.”

Many Americans Are Convinced Crime Is Rising In The U.S. They’re Wrong.

A Violent August in N.Y.C.: Shootings Double, and Murder Is Up by 50%

In Emptier Subways, Violent Crime Is Rising

Explaining the Recent Homicide Spikes in U.S. Cities: The ‘Minneapolis Effect’ and the Decline in Proactive Policing by Paul G. Cassell :: SSRN

Opinion | Homicide Stats Show ‘Minneapolis Effect’


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values. Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.


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