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by Peter Moskos

October 8, 2015

Believe the hype: Murder is going up

A few months ago I warned people not to believe the hype (at least in NYC). But all signs do now indicate the murders are up. The numbers below come from "The Brainroom" at Fox News. They compiled publically released data from city police departments. There are some cities where murder isn't up, of course, but fewer and fewer. The list isn't a random sample, but it does includes all the biggies.
All stats are 2015 year-to-date % increases versus the same time period last year.
• Austin, TX: +83.3% (22 murders versus 12, through Aug. 31)
• Denver: +75% (28 murders versus 16, through July 31)
• Milwaukee, WI: +68.3% (101 murders versus 60, through Sept. 28)
• Baltimore, MD: +54.5% (255 murders versus 165, through Oct. 3)
• St. Louis: +51.5% (153 murders versus 101, through Aug. 31)
• Washington, DC: +46.3% (120 murders versus 82, through Oct. 6)
• Houston: +34.4% (168 murders versus 125, through July 31)
• Chicago: +21.3% (359 murders versus 296, Sept. 27)
• New Orleans: +13.8% (131 murders versus 115, through Oct. 6)
• Los Angeles: +12.2% (221 murders versus 197, through Oct. 3)
• Atlanta: +9.2% (71 murders versus 65, through Sept. 26)
• New York: +7.1% (257 murders versus 240, through Sept. 27)
• Philadelphia: +6.6% (209 murders versus 196, through Oct. 6)
The New York Times adds Kansas City, Mo and Dallas to the list:

KC is up from 45 to 54. Dallas from 71 to 83.

In these cities you have a total 25 percent increase in killings. It's hard to imagine decreases elsewhere that would compensate for this. A nationwide 10 percent increases needs an additional 1,400 murders. What we have here, extrapolating a bit, is a year end total of maybe 770 more killings in 15 cities.

Why is this? Who knows? Anti-police ideologues will insist on the same tried and failed theories of the past. Call me crazy, but it seems to me the only really relevant variable in the past year has been all the police-related events of the past year.

From the Washington Post (worth reading):
“We have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Lynch. “They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”


Concerned citizen said...

This uptick is disturbing, and I think the NY Times and Washington Post have done a good job of reporting it with their recent articles.

However, I wish they would add some long-term perspective on the risk of being a victim of homicide. For black males, the victim rate is actually 30% LOWER now than it was in 1950.

In terms of the human costs of homicide in the 'hood--the level of grief, fear, and suffering--it seems that things are better now than they were 60 years ago.

Of course, this offers no comfort or solace to the parents or siblings of a current victim. In an interview, Jill Leovy, author of "Ghettoside", said:

"There's no way to fit it in any kind of understanding of the natural order of things. It's always going to feel colossally wrong. It's going to feel like something's been taken from you arbitrarily by another human being. The way people respond to homicide deaths of loved ones - it's the worst pain that I've seen a human being experience that isn't physical. It's astounding what people go through, and it often gets worse as the years go by, instead of better. Doing "The Homicide Report," I had people who contacted me who had lost their loved ones 20, 30 years before, and would say, you know, I'm just going through my hardest phase now."

john mosby said...

What about de-prosecuting and de-judging?

So many of these shooters and vics should have still been in the joint from their last arrest...


Moskos said...

That would be interesting to look at the victims and shooters and see how much time it's been since they've been out of jail or prison. And if they received cut sentences. My guess is it would not be a huge factor. But I don't know.

Adam said...

Unsurprisingly, people are jumping all over FBI director Comey for suggesting the same thing -- that police are more hesitant than they used to be, and that has had an effect on violent crime rates. Here's the Baltimore Sun editorial board adding their two cents (about the value I'd put on this opinion piece): http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-comey-police-20151026-story.html