What can we do about the high crime rate? Fighting crime is not all that difficult. We know how to do it. Why do I say that? Because crime in this country peaked in 1991. People got tired of the high crime rate and voted for politicians that were serious about fighting crime. Did it work? YES!!!
Crime peaked in 1991, and was down about 50% in the country as a whole. Violent crime has fallen by 51 percent since 1991, and property crime by 43 percent. Crime dropped because we elected politician that did the right thing.
But now murders and other violent crimes are back up at historic high levels! Crime has surged in the last year. In Seattle, homicides in 2020 were up over 48%, and 2021 is looking even worse. Seattle's 2020 homicide rate is the highest rate in 26 years. In 1 year homicide rates in Seattle have jumped up to levels not seen since the 90s, thanks to the terrible decisions our leaders have made. Some cities have done even worse than Seattle.
Chicago had a single day with 18 homicides, the largest 1 day number for the city on record. Shootings overall are up 40% in Chicago and up 50% in New York. Los Angeles saw significant increases in homicides in 2020 followed by another 36% increase the 1st 3 months of 2021.
All of these places have lost all, or most, of the progress made since the crime peak in 1991. And this is going on all over the country.
What did we do in 1991 to bring crime down?
And what did our leaders do this last year to allow the crime rate to soar to old levels?
Here are the package of changes that brought crime down.
Broken-windows policing. This theory states that even small visible signs of crime, like a broken window, encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. This theory encourages police to target all crimes, even minor crimes, like vandalism, loitering, public drinking, and jaywalking. Allowing even minor crimes promotes bigger crimes. Cities that follow this theory often have crews that remove new graffiti immediately. The theory was first introduced in 1982, but not implemented until the 90s, when we elected politicians committed to law and order. Broken-Windows policing brought immediate results.
Psychologists and police officers agree that if a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is true in all neighborhoods, the nice ones and the rundown ones. One un-repaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, which leads to more broken windows and more broken windows leads to more crime of all types. The departments that implemented Broken-Windows policing saw big decreases in crime starting in the 90s.
This last year our cities have allowed "protestors" to break windows, to start fires, and to loot, and our police in most cases were instructed to stand down. People threw bottles, bricks, and fireworks, they vandalized police cars, spray painted graffiti everywhere, and in general were allowed to act like there was no law. Very few were arrested, and almost all those arrested were not prosecuted. All of this is the opposite of Broken-Windows policing. If you allow minor crimes, you will get bigger crimes. It is no surprise that the crime rate immediately jumped, and homicides are back up to 1990s levels.
Getting criminals in prison and off the streets. This is a no-brainer, but many politicians fight against this policy most of all. All violent criminals should be locked up, especially those that use, or posses, a gun in their crime. Locking up more criminals was probably the most effective single change we made in the 90s.
What did we do this year? We released convicted murderers, rapists and robbers, before their sentences were up, so they would be "safe" from Covid-19. And judges gave no money bail to arrested criminals, so they could wait at home for their trial. Even criminals that used guns were released pending their trial, in many cases on their own recognizance. Our current politicians want to get rid of all cash bail and automatically allow arrested criminals to be released based on their "promise" to come back for the trial.
What about our safety? What about the predictable increase in crime when you release dangerous and violent criminals back into society before they finish their sentence? Our leaders released dangerous felons and now they don't want to accept responsibility for the increased homicides.
Hiring more police. More police gives you the manpower to do Broken-Windows policing. More police can apprehend more criminals to get the dangerous criminals off the streets. More police have a deterrent effect by visibly patrolling. The benefit of reduced crime after hiring more police has been documented in many studies.
What did our leaders do this last year?
Defund the Police!
They cut police budgets, and reduced numbers of sworn officers. They demoralized police officers enough that hundreds have resigned, over 200 in Seattle alone. New York reports over 15% increase in police retirement. Boston reports retirements of sworn officers has doubled. All of this means less police officers on the job, and that means more crime. Our leaders knew crime would increase, and they still cut police budgets and demoralized many others officers into retiring.
Why should I care about the crime rate? Isn't that up to City Hall?
The politicians that run your city, that give directions to your police force, that largely determine how safe you and your family are, often make wrong decisions. This last year proves that. Politicians have ignored the things we did all over the country, starting in 1991, that brought the crime rate down. Now the crime has jumped back up, in some cases to the old historic high levels.
Our leaders have broken every police policy known to work and our murder and crime rates are back to the peak levels of the 90s and in some cities even higher than that. All of the progress of multiple decades lost in 1 year of bad judgment by our elected leaders. How much longer will this go on? What can we do to restore some semblance of wisdom in our leaders? How many innocent people will be killed before our government comes to its senses?
You have to give government the correct instructions, by how you vote, which requires you to understand these issues. REMEMBER: back in the 90s the public elected national and local politicians committed to law and order, which brought our crime rates down to the lowest levels in the last 100 years. The public needs to do the same thing now. We must elect leaders that will do the right thing. We know what works:
Enforce all laws, even minor crimes like broken windows.
Put the dangerous criminals behind bars.
Hire enough police officer to get the job done.
We must get rid of politicians that place ideology ahead of our safety.
There are lots of bogus theories that some people peddle to distract you from what really works. Below are a few of the theories that have been debunked.
Lead in gasoline has been decreased. Lead exposure is supposedly correlated with aggressive behavior, so reducing lead exposure, they claim, has caused the crime reduction. This is not likely because the statistics showed that even the high lead exposed kids started committing less crimes in the 90s.
Legal abortion, prevented the birth of would-be criminals. Not likely, as the crime rate went down in multiple age groups starting in the 90s, not just the age group born after legalized abortion.
Happy pills reduced violent behaviors. Give an unhappy guy an antidepressant such as Prozac and he is less prone to violence and crime, according to this false theory. To test this theory researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and the University of Oxford in England looked at filled prescriptions and convictions for crimes. Among men, taking antidepressants was linked with a 40% increased risk of being convicted of a violent crime; among women, the risk increased by 75%, according to the study. Don't look for Prozac prescriptions to bring down crime.
America's gangs are less violent. Supposedly gangs have figured out violence and murders are bad for business, bad for their image. It brings increased attention from the police and is bad for business. I wish this were true. But the evidence shows gangs are actually more violent, with MS13 and other gangs coming into the U.S.. Don't look for better mannered gangs to account for any crime reduction.
More people are carrying guns. A number of states passed Right to Carry laws in the mid to late 90s and criminals are less likely to try and rob somebody if they think that person is armed. This might have had a small effect, but some studies actually show the opposite: more guns increases the crime level.
People are carrying less cash. Everybody has credit or debit cards and little need to carry cash. Robbing somebody for a credit card doesn't make sense because it becomes inactivated so fast. So the age of plastic, they say, has reduced the incentive to rob. Yet robbers seem to get quite a few things charged to credit cards before they are inactivated.
All of these theories sound plausible on a certain level, but these theories, and many others have been debunked. We know what works, and we should not allow politicians and others, who have their own agenda to distract us from the truth.
Some people keep arguing that police brutality is the problem, not high crime. Thus we need to get rid of cops by defunding or retirement to make our communities safe. They cite the fact that 1004 people were killed by cops in 2019. What they don't mention is that almost all of those people were resisting arrest, or attacking or shooting at police at the time they were killed. Nor do they mention the 16,425 citizens murdered in 2019. So 1004 vs 16,425? Seems like the 16,425 is the real problem. Don't get distracted by their red herring. If people don't want to be killed by cops I have 3 suggestions:
Don't assault cops.
Don't shoot at cops.
Don't resist arrest.