Heather Mac Donald
The FBI has confirmed what millions of Americans already knew: the Democrat-enabled, post-George Floyd crime surge continued in 2021.
Homicides rose another estimated 4.3% last year, on top of 2020’s 29% spike, according to the FBI’s newly released 2021 crime report. Aggravated assaults, which include the drive-by shootings that are terrorizing urban neighborhoods, were up 4%, though violent crime overall was down one percent, thanks to a reduction in robberies.
In the first six months of 2022, aggravated assault rose by another 4%, and robberies were back up by 19%, according to a non-governmental study of nearly three dozen representative cities.
Larcenies were up 20% through June 2022, and car thefts up 15%, according to that Council on Criminal Justice analysis.
Social order, in other words, continues to break down as a result of the Democrats’ glorification of the 2020 George Floyd riots and of the elite establishment’s vilification of the police. At least 12 major American cities reached their highest number of homicides ever in 2021.
Corporate media is spinning the FBI’s 2021 crime report as good news: “The 2020 homicide surge has crested!” “That surge really was about pandemic lockdowns, just as we always maintained!”
This spin is specious. The chance that 2020’s 29% homicide spike would be repeated was minimal. By June 2022, homicides were still up 39%, compared with June 2019.
And international data undercut the COVID explanation for the post-George Floyd carnage. Nations with more severe lockdowns and a higher death toll than the U.S. experienced sharp drops in violent crime; only the U.S. saw an epidemic of gun violence, and only starting after the Floyd race riots.
The FBI’s 2021 crime report does come with a major caveat, however: it is based on crime numbers from just over half the nation’s police departments. For the first time, the bureau required police agencies to use a more labor-intensive, if more comprehensive, data reporting system than in the past.
Only 52% of all police agencies, covering a little over half of the nation’s population, actually submitted a full year of data. Some of the largest police and sheriff’s agencies, including in New York City, Los Angeles and Phoenix, opted out of the voluntary program. The FBI arrived at its 2021 national numbers through an unusually large amount of estimation; those estimates are nevertheless roughly in line with those from non-governmental entities.
Trying to head off a crime backlash in the midterms, most Democrats have stopped spouting defund the police rhetoric. President Joe Biden proposed throwing a bunch of federal dollars at police departments in his July 2022 Safer America Plan. Biden even had the gall to claim that it was Republicans who were anti-law enforcement.
The Dems should not be allowed to get away with this revisionist history. Democrat lies about systemic police racism fueled the volatile situation that inner-city cops now face when trying to arrest criminals; Democrat lies led the police to back off of essential proactive enforcement and created a recruiting and retention crisis in police departments across the country.
Left-wing prosecutors have stopped enforcing a host of offenses — from theft to resisting arrest — on the theory that punishing minority criminals for such crimes is racist.
The Republican challenge to every Democratic candidate should be:
- If a criminal loots a store, should he be arrested and prosecuted?
- Do you support the de facto decriminalization of shoplifting, turnstile jumping, squeegee extortion, trespass, burglary, and illegal gun possession—just some of the crimes that left-wing district attorneys are declining to prosecute on racial justice grounds.
- Should race play a role in criminal justice policy?
- In May 2022, Biden released an executive order alleging that there is “systemic racism in our criminal justice system” and that the police disproportionately kill “Black and Brown people.” Do you agree?
Fatal police shootings make up a much smaller percentage of black homicide deaths than they do white and Hispanic homicide deaths. In 2021, a police officer was 400 times as likely to be killed by a black suspect as an unarmed black individual was to be killed by the police.
The post-George Floyd urban anarchy halted the crime-fighting successes of the previous three decades. If Democrats are not willing to explicitly repudiate the narratives and the policies that led to that reversal, voters most hold them accountable for the loss of thousands more mostly black lives; for the lethal ambushes of cops; for the assaults on struggling businesses; and for the spreading sense in urban areas that civilization is ebbing away.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com.