Newest piece at Fox News: "There is no nationwide crime wave (and police killings are not up)"
Since 1991, murder and violent crime have plummeted in the U. S. But in a widely discussed op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled "The New Nationwide Crime Wave,” Heather Mac Donald recently made a startling claim: “Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America.” She demonstrated this by citing murder rate increases in six cities.
Murders of police were also surging out of control, she said; they had “jumped 89% in 2014."
Last week, Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at New York’s Manhattan Institute appeared on numerous TV channels, including Fox News and CNN. As is so common, the claims have become exaggerated, giving the impression that crime is on the rise all across the U.S.
Fortunately, that’s all hype. Mac Donald simply cherry-picked those places that had experienced rising crime rates. Overall, the 15 largest cities have actually experienced a slight decrease in murders. There has been a 2 percent drop from the first five months of 2014 to the first five months of this year. Murder rates rose in eight cities and fell in seven. There is no nationwide murder wave. . . .
Police do a dangerous job, and any dramatic increase in police killings would be horrible. But the nationwide spike in police killings is not all that Mac Donald claims it is. After averaging 55 police deaths per year for a decade, the number of deaths fell to 27 in 2013. The number went back up to 51 in 2014. Though that was a large increase, the unusual year was 2013, not 2014.
But the biggest problem with these last numbers is that, unlike the crime numbers that compare periods clearly before and after the “Ferguson effect” and the Baltimore riots, the spike in police killings occurred too early. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, murders of police through May nationwide are down 38 percent this year compared to last year (16 versus 26). . . .