The decades-long decline in crime rates may be over. Murders are up 180% in Milwaukee. Other cities are showing double digit increases in violent crime.
Some are blaming the “Ferguson effect,” claiming that as a result of the controversy over police who killed an unarmed suspect–a pattern replicated elsewhere–citizens no longer respect police officers, sometimes to the point of defying them, and police officers, sometimes mobbed when they go on routine patrols, can no longer enforce laws with the vigor they need to.
I’m not sure that fully explains why people are killing each other and stealing each others’ property. I would think the answer needs to deal with issues such as the loss of internal constraints, which in turn comes from family breakdown, radical individualism, instant gratification, the eclipse of the conscience, crime-glorifying pop culture, the dysfunctions of poverty, anemic churches, etc. What explanations can you offer?
From Heather MacDonald, The New Nationwide Crime Wave – WSJ:
The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.
In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.
Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.
Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.