US Cities See Soaring Violent Crime, Study Finds

Jul 26, 2016

Violent crime is on the rise in US cities according to a report released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, raising concerns about whether or not law enforcement agencies around the country are properly equipped to deal with the problem.

The report's release comes at a turbulent time for America. Despite being one of the safest years in decades, a surge in rapes, robberies, homicides, and shootings is not something the nation's leaders can ignore. Many police departments in America struggle to balance politically mandated community outreach programs with the need to deter and neutralize criminals. The mainstream media shares part of the blame for the deteriorating relationship between local law enforcement and marginalized communities. Shootings and other confrontations are immediately attributed to race relations, which fuels dissent among disaffected groups. Police must remain vigilant in fighting violent crime while lawmakers pass comprehensive laws to attack the root of the violence. The federally-sanctioned war on drugs is the best place for politicians to start.

Major US Cities Fall Victim To Homicide Increase

According to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, US cities experienced 307 more homicides in 2016 from the year before. In addition to homicides, cities fell victim to 1,000 more robberies, 2,000 more aggravated assaults, and over 600 non-fatal shootings compared in 2016 compared to the previous year.

The study was comprised of data from 51 of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country.

The report notes the increase is keeping up with a rise in violent crime in 2015, which also saw a notable uptick in homicides.

top-crime-rate-cities-graphic
Violence has become a leading domestic issue in the 2016 presidential election. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week, presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to fight the scourge of crime that has afflicted cities such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, and others.

President Barack Obama disputed Trump's bleak interpretation of the data, saying the murder rate has dropped since he took office almost 8 years ago.

The Trace disputes mainstream rhetoric
Despite a torrent of horrific, high-profile events, including a rampage at a gay nightclub and deadly ambushes of police officers in two cities, crime stats clearly show that the "vast majority" of Americans are, in fact, far safer than two decades ago. In 2014, the most recent year for which full data is available.

Wall Street Journal plays up racial tensions
Increased gang violence is playing a role in places like Chicago, which saw 316 homicides in the first half of 2016, compared with 211 in the first half of 2015. The data comes as tensions are high between police and minority communities, and as police around the country are on high alert after ambushes in Dallas and Baton Rouge that killed a total of eight police officers.

Newsweek says the cause of the crime rate increase remains unclear
Despite the uptick in some citi es, it's unclear whether there was a similar growth in all violent crimes nationwide or what might be causing it. According to the Associated Press, criminologists and law enforcement leaders have not yet been able to account for why a rise in murders hit certain cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, but not others like Miami and Oakland.

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