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How the new administration can improve law enforcement

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One undeniable legacy of the Obama administration has been the explosion of violent crime in many U.S. urban centers, a widespread increase in illegal drug trafficking and an accompanying record-setting number of fatal drug overdoses.  While the causes or even the existence of these facts are disputed by liberal/progressive political and academic leaders and their followers, it is also undeniable that the only candidate for the presidency who consistently targeted the increases violence and drugs under the Obama administration was the candidate that won the election.  While the deniers and hecklers continue their resistance, sometimes violently, the new president is working to address the pervasive crime, violence and drugs that most Americans outside of Hollywood, the beltway and academia are witnessing first hand.  Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald has laid out a game plan for the administration in a recent article in the City Journal.
Among her suggestions is to widely report facts about criminal commission and victimization rates among different racial groups with police responses, including shootings, to expose the false narrative that police are racially targeting blacks.  Others include evaluating Obama era consent decrees on the basis of whether they are helping or hindering the ability of police to restore public safety to urban neighborhoods; improving DOJ research on the impact of different sentencing and policing policies on crime and recividism; cracking down on sanctuary cities; reversing the previous administration's failure to prosecute gun crimes; and pursuing partnerships with private enterprise to refocus prison rehabilitation on productive work and marketable skills development.  California, a one-party state in extreme denial about its increasing crime,  has become the template for resistance to these changes, providing a valuable research tool over the next four years.  Unfortunately, this is very tough luck for most law abiding Californians. 

3 Comments

Michael, can you say more about how you see California being in "extreme denial about its increasing crime"?

I have seen data showing increases in California crimes in 2015 and 2016, but these increases are from what has been reported as record crime lows in 2014. For example, this new SD Gov report on crime provides this summary of violent crime in San Diego: "the violent crime rate (per 1,000 population) in the San Diego region increased in the later part of the 1980s, reaching a peak of 9.76 in 1992. Since then, it generally declined to a 37-year low in 2014 (3.28). This low was followed by a small increase in 2015 (3.35) and then the most recent decrease in 2016 (3.33)." http://www.sandag.org/uploads/publicationid/publicationid_2113_21861.pdf

Do you think these SD numbers are inaccurate and that California is "cooking the books" to make it look like crime is not really an "explosion of violent crime"? Or do you accept these SD numbers and just think, as AG Sessions says, that we have to take any uptick in crime since 2014 very seriously or else risk much more major increases?

I am not trying to troll here, I am really trying to understand the basis and meaning of your assertion that California is in "extreme denial about its increasing crime." Thanks.

A little cherry picking and some trolling, so here's something for your net.

A 2016 report from California’s Police Chiefs Association indicated that the 2015 increases in property and violent crime in the state’s largest cities is also occurring in smaller communities across the state. The report, released in late April, projected that California cities with populations less than 100,000 suffered a 15.25% increase in property crime and a 15.41% increase in violent crime in 2015, while smaller cities outside of California are projected to have had a 6.5% drop in property crime and only a 1.3% increase in violent crime.

This followed the January 2016 FBI Preliminary Uniform Crime Report, which counts crimes in cities with populations of 100,000 or more. For California the report showed a 12.9% increase in violent crime and a 9.2% increase in property crime from January through June 2015. The same report found that large cities outside of California had just a 1.7% increase in violent crime and a 4.2% drop in property crime. The chiefs report noted that the increase in property crime in those California cities is the largest year-over-year increase since at least 1960, while the increase in violent crime is the largest year-over-year increase since 1990.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Report released last September indicated that for the nation as a whole, the 2015 violent crime rate increased 3.0%, while California’s rate increased two and a half times as much, 7.6%. (All rates are reported as number of crimes per 100,000 population.) The property crime rate for the nation as a whole declined 3.4%, while California’s increased 7.2%. That is, California’s net change in property crime rate was 10.6% greater than the nation as a whole.

Looking at the country’s ten largest states, all nine of the others had decreases in property crime. Georgia had the largest decline at 10.0%, while Florida had the smallest at 4.1%. California alone had an increase in property crime, and a substantial one.

The FBI Preliminary Crime Report for 2016 indicated that violent crime increased in two-thirds of California’s largest cities.

Data analysis found that of the 69 California cities listed in the report, 46 had increased in violent crime last year. Some cities saw increases of more than 50% in crime, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In Los Angeles, violent crime rose 16.8% compared to 2015.

Cities with the largest violent crime increases included Moreno Valley (+66.3%), Burbank (+50.7%), Fremont (+41.6%), El Cajon (+27.8%), Santa Maria (+26.1%), Rialto (+22.7%), Riverside (+22.5%), and Pasadena (+18.1%).

The largest increases in murder were reported in San Jose (+127%), Santa Ana (+116.6%), San Bernardino (+100%), San Diego (+41.1%), and Berkeley (+35%). Rapes increased in many cities, including in Corona (+166%), Fremont (+73.6%), Fairfield (+70.5%), and Elk Grove (+68.4%).

I should note that in December of 2014, The Los Angeles Times found that the LAPD had significantly under-reported violent crime for the year (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-data-20141216-story.html).

For four years running, all but one of the bi-partisan efforts by the California Legislature to reform Realignment and Proposition 47 have failed to get enough votes to pass. Governor Brown vetoed the only one that did reach his desk, and it was an extremely mild reform at that.

Last year George Soros and Governor Brown pooled $10 million to convince voters to pass Proposition 57, which was promoted as giving non-violent criminals who behaved well in prison a chance for release on parole. According to the state's District Attorneys, for the purposes of Proposition 47 an example of a non-violent offender is a residential burglar with priors for rape and aggravated assault.

In his state of the state address earlier this year, the Governor failed to even mention crime.

By my rather rigid standards, this constitutes a denial that there is a crime problem. The predictable response is that violent crime is nowhere near as high as it was in the early 1990s, so there is nothing to worry about.

These data are very helpful, Michael, and I am grateful for your efforts to provide these significant details. With Realignment, Prop 47 and Prop 57 (not to mention 3-strike and MJ reform), there sure is a lot going on in Cal and these crime data are disheartening. I now better understand the basis and meaning of your assertion that California is in "extreme denial about its increasing crime." Thanks!

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