President Trump’s Murder Report Card

Steve Sailer, Taki's Magazine, January 10, 2018

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The FBI won’t release its 2017 murder statistics for many months. But to shed light on the important question of how the Trump administration is doing, I’ve sifted through year-end local newspaper reports and police department databases from the 51 biggest municipalities in America.

The impact of the Ferguson Effect is statistically vivid in Ferguson’s neighbor St. Louis, where the number of homicides ranged from 113 to 120 from 2011 to 2013. Then in 2014, when the Obama administration and the prestige press took the side of anti-police rioters in promoting the Michael Brown fake news, homicides jumped to 159. Killings numbered 188 the next two years, and in 2017 had reached 205 by Dec. 29.

{snip} So St. Louis’ murder rate (65.8 per 100,000 in 2017) is now 27 times that of increasingly utopian San Diego (2.4), the least murderous of the country’s fifty biggest cities.

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The Ferguson Effect arrived in Chicago in late November 2015, when Chicago’s government finally released the video of the bad shooting of Laquan McDonald. Homicides grew from 468 in 2015 to a savage 762 in the final year of getting the community organized by ex–community organizer Barack Obama.

Despite Chicago’s Democratic regime, the Trump administration has made Chicago’s lawlessness a priority, sending extra federal officers and easing up on the consent decree that the Obama administration had imposed to hamstring Chicago cops. In 2017, Chicago’s number of homicides dropped to 650, a 16 percent decline, but still much more lethal than before BLM rode into town.

Nationally, Obama’s Ferguson Effect wasn’t quite as large proportionally as in those cities where BLM triumphed politically, but it was extraordinarily bloody in terms of incremental dead bodies. In 2014, homicides were 14,164 across the country, growing to 15,883 in 2015, an increase of 12.1 percent, one of the largest annual increases in the past 40 years. Then in 2016 homicides rose another 8.6 percent to 17,250.

So the excess American death toll in 2015 and 2016 from Obama’s war on cops was a little larger than the 4,424 combat fatalities from Bush’s war in Iraq.

The official FBI statistics for the whole country won’t be out until autumn, but I’ve counted up the number of murders in 2017 in the 51 biggest cities. (I was going to do just the top 50, but I included No. 51 Cleveland as well, which saw homicides drop from 136 killings in 2016 to 130 last year.)

Please note that I’m not tallying up the entire metropolitan areas, just the core municipality with its single police department. These 51 cities have a population of 50 million, or about 15 percent of the U.S. population, but 35 percent of the country’s murders in 2016.

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Bearing all that in mind, homicides in the 51 biggest cities appear to have gone down 2.2 percent from 2016 to 2017.

That’s good news compared with the sharp increases of the last two years of the Obama Era. The Trump administration can take some credit for ending some of the self-destructive policies of the Obama Justice Department.

On the other hand, America is still headed toward something like 2,500 more murders in 2017 than in 2014.

Murders should be falling annually due to improved medical care (ambulances are basically rolling emergency rooms these days). And we now live in a surveillance society, so we ought to at least be getting the benefits in reduced murder rates.

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Not surprisingly, the worst homicide rates in 2017 were in highly black cities, such as St. Louis (65.8 homicides per 100,000), Baltimore (55.8), New Orleans (40.1), Detroit (39.7), Cleveland (33.7), Kansas City (31.2), and Memphis (30.6).

The most homicidal big city without an above-average percentage of blacks is Las Vegas (36.7, or a still-high 27.0 when leaving out the Mandalay Bay massacre).

In sharp contrast to heavily black cities, towns near the Mexican border were exceptionally murder-free in 2017, such as San Diego (2.4), Tucson (3.2), and El Paso (2.8).

El Paso has been famous for its calm citizenry for generations. A 1971 article in Time, “The Texas Tranquilizer,” attributed the low murder rate in El Paso to the high levels of lithium in its well water.

On the other hand, Ciudad Juárez across the Rio Grande is notorious, even in Mexico, where the murder toll was about 29,000 in 2017, for its hideous violence.

My guess is that the extreme criminality in Mexico since late 2006 has, perhaps surprisingly, lowered the crime rate in Mexican-American neighborhoods in the U.S. Back in the 1970s, when America was liberal about not punishing crime while Mexico was a one-party dictatorship, it made sense for bad guys to ply their trade north of the border. Today, in contrast, there is ample lucrative employment for killers in chaotic Mexico, so that drains American border towns of their worst denizens.

Outside of Las Vegas, the biggest increase in absolute numbers of homicides was in Columbus, Ohio, where killings increased from 106 to 143. While it has a fairly sizable black population (28 percent), Columbus is not really a Rust Belt town like Detroit or Cleveland. It’s a sprawling All-American city where the U.S. national soccer team plays its home matches against Mexico to get away from Mexican-American fans rooting for Mexico.

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