The GOP loves to keep up the myth that "Democrats bring Crime" but as this DA points out the greatest number of murders are in Red States, and it seems to be connected to weak gun laws (Oh Heaven Forfend), not to DA's who don't believe in cash bail or lessening punishments for non-violent crimes.
As we’ve seen during the recent debate for Oklahoma Governor between Joy Hofmeister (D) and incumbent Kevin Stitt (R).
In the 2022 midterms, countless Republican candidates — hoping to distract voters from the abortion issue — have been focusing heavily on violent crime and blaming Democrats for the crime rates in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia. Crime was one of the subjects that Democratic nominee Joy Hofmeister and incumbent Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt debated on Wednesday, October 19, when Hofmeister reminded him how high the murder rates are in some red states.
Hofmeister told Stitt, “The fact is, the rates of violent crime are higher in Oklahoma, under your watch, than in New York and California. That’s a fact.”
Taking first things first, does having a progressive DA really mean higher crime rates? Well, No.
Crime in San Francisco under progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin and his predecessor has been lower across the board than in Sacramento, where the old-school DA touts her “tough-on-crime” credential, a new study shows.
The study by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice shows that violent crimes have fallen 29 percent in San Francisco since 2014, including the past two years when Boudin has been in office.
During that same period, in the tenure of conservative prosecutor Anne Marie Schubert, violent crime in Sacramento increased 9 percent.
Like so many, I am fed up with the escalation of criminal activity around the state, which brings nothing but chaos and destruction to our neighborhoods and communities. As a career prosecutor, I understand that this will not change until we are willing to admit that certain policies have for too long prioritized criminals over crime victims.
But, as CJCJ says, those policies haven’t translated into a reduction in violent crime:
DA Schubert’s rhetoric and policies have not delivered lower crime or falling crime rates. In fact, San Francisco has sustained larger crime declines overall and achieved lower rates of violent crime than the City of Sacramento since 2014.
The second major issue argued by the GOP/MAGAs is the slogan “Defund the Police.” Now, I think that is a very simple slogan that encompasses some fairly subtle and nuanced ideas, but it has been unfortunately taken to be an expression of “Cop Hate” where cities would simply cut the funding for police in blind retaliation. In reality — as I see it — it has three separate elements.
First, the “defunding” should primarily be for the paramilitary equipment that police forces have been hoarding for decades. Weapons of war, except for very extreme cases, should not be used on our city streets. The actual need for this equipment is dubious at best, and many departments are simply stock-piling it all to look cool rather than actually use it in law enforcement. Fully automatic weapons, tach vests and military vehicles are often overkill. There is no good reason to have an MRAP driving down the street as a law enforcement vehicle. It makes the police look like they are an invading/occupying army as if they were the Russians battling through enemy artillery in Mariupol. MRAPs are designed to be survivable against IUD attacks — is anyone using IUDs in downtown Dallas?
Secondly, there is the fact that police officers are protected from the consequences of their wrongdoing, wrongful assaults and deaths — by “qualified immunity.” Rather than the officers themselves being liable for their misdeeds, the payout of settlement agreements falls most often onto the taxpayers of the city who were wronged by the officers in the first place. Police misconduct cost taxpayers $3.2 Billion over the past decade, I think that shouldn’t be a tax-payer burden. I think the officers who did the crime, should be paying for it.
Thirdly, the real primary argument behind “Defund the Police” is the idea that some funds — not all of them — should be diverted from paying police to answer mental health calls which they aren’t equipped or trained to handle to instead having a team of 24/7 mental health first responders to handle those calls. A pilot program for this has been established in Cincinnati where mental health first responders have been answering calls instead of police.
A new pilot program in Cincinnati will give 911 dispatchers the option to send a mental health professional to certain low-risk incidents instead of police, officials announced Thursday.
Called "alternative response," these programs are popping up across the country as cities seek to reform police departments in the wake of the 2020 protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"There are  callers who can best be helped by another resource," Mayor Aftab Pureval said in a press conference Thursday. "Our communities are asking for this service."
The $178,000 pilot will create a team comprised of one licensed behavioral health clinician and one Cincinnati Fire Department paramedic. The clinician has not yet been hired, officials said. The program is scheduled to launch by July.
This is what “Defund the Police” actually means. Fund someone else who is effectively trained and can do the job properly and safely without pulling out a gun and getting someone killed. Police are not the human equivalent of a swiss army knife with a handy tool for every problem, some things are specialized. We ask the police to try to solve every problem that a community deals with, but they aren’t really good at every problem.
Getting back to the main issue of violent crime as shown by the CDC's stats for Homicide Mortality the top-rated states are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, and South Carolina with over 15 deaths per 100,000 people. The MAGAs often talk about deaths in Chicago where, admittedly, there are many shootings, but Illinois is #9 out of the top 10 at only 11.2 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to other states.
This is what the Homicide map of the US actually looks like.
I think the pattern here is fairly clear.
Very simply, in basic black and white terms — Red states are more deadly.
Even when looking at things at the City level, Chicago is still only #10 behind St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Memphis and Newark.
The United States is the 128th safest country in the world according to the Global Peace Index. The US’s safety rank has decreased each year since 2016. A large factor in determining the safety index of countries is their murder rate.
The murder rate varies greatly between cities in the United States. Violent crime rates escalated after World War II and peaked between the 1970s and 1990s.
Crime rates overall are affected by several factors. Factors that influence crime rates include lower arrest probabilities, social influences, and family structures. Crime in metropolitan statistical areas tends to be above the national average. Many attribute the high violent crime rates to gangs and gang violence in urban areas. The United States also has a mass shooting occur, on average, every 200 days. These mass shootings drastically bring up murder rates in the cities that they occur in.
A common misconception is that the cities with larger populations have the highest murder rates. New York City, for example, has a population of 8.39 million people but with 300 murders and a murder rate of 3.4 in 2017, it doesn’t even make it into the top 50 cities.
The twenty cities in the United States with the highest murder rates (murders per 100,000 people) are:
- St. Louis, MO (69.4)
- Baltimore, MD (51.1)
- New Orleans, LA (40.6)
- Detroit, MI (39.7)
- Cleveland, OH (33.7)
- Las Vegas, NV (31.4)
- Kansas City, MO (31.2)
- Memphis, TN (27.1)
- Newark, NJ (25.6)
- Chicago, IL (24)
- Cincinnati, OH (23.8)
- Philadelphia, PA (20.2)
- Milwaukee, WI (20.0)
- Tulsa, OK (18.6)
- Pittsburgh, PA (18.4)
- Indianapolis, IN (17.7)
- Louisville, KY (17.5)
- Oakland, CA (17.1)
- Washington D.C. (17.0)
- Atlanta, GA (16.7)
When we look specifically at Gun Murders by state, we see a similar picture:
Here are the 10 states with the highest gun deaths per capita [Data from 2017]:
- Alaska - 24.5 per 100k people
- Alabama - 22.9 per 100k people
- Montana - 22.5 per 100k people
- Louisiana - 21.7 per 100k people
- Mississippi - 21.5 per 100k people
- Missouri - 21.5 per 100k people
- Arkansas - 20.3 per 100k people
- Wyoming - 18.8 per 100k people
- West Virginia - 18.6 per 100k people
- New Mexico - 18.5 per 100k people
Other studies have supported this conclusion:
The Third Way reported that “some ‘blue cities, like Chicago, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, have seen real and persistent increases in homicides.” But looking at states, The Third Way reported that “murder rates are far higher in Trump-voting red states than Biden-voting blue states.” According to The Third Way, “We found that murder rates are, on average, 40 percent higher in the 25 states Donald Trump won in the last presidential election compared to those that voted for Joe Biden. In addition, murder rates in many of these red states dwarf those in blue states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. And finally, many of the states with the worst murder rates — like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas — are ones that few would describe as urban. Only 2 of America’s top 100 cities in population are located in these high murder rate states.”
Similar results were found by the Center for American Progress as published by The Atlantic:
Brownstein reports, “Countering conventional wisdom, the study found that homicides over recent years increased less rapidly in cities with progressive prosecutors than in those with more traditional district attorneys. It also found no meaningful differences between cities with progressive or traditional DAs in the trends for larceny and robbery…. The data, from CAP, a liberal think tank and advocacy organization, reinforces the message from a study released earlier this year by Third Way, a centrist Democratic group. That report found that per capita murder rates in 2020 were 40 percent higher in states that voted for Donald Trump than in those that voted for President Joe Biden.”
Part of the reason gun deaths in the Red State are so high, isn’t just because of gun crimes — it’s also because of gun suicides.
We can see high suicide rates among veterans...
The rate of suicide among veterans may be more than double what federal officials report annually because of undercounting related to drug overdose deaths and service record errors, according to a new analysis released Saturday.
Officials from America’s Warrior Partnership, in a joint study with University of Alabama and Duke University, reviewed census death data from 2014 to 2018 for eight states and found thousands of cases of suspected or confirmed suicides not included in federal calculations
If those figures were to be repeated across the other states, it would push the veterans suicide rate from about 17 individuals a day (the official estimate released by the Department of Veterans Affairs last year) to 44 veterans a day.
And among LGBTQ youth — particularly those who are being harassed and intimidated for their gender orientation...
LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 (Hedegaard, Curtin, & Warner, 2018) — and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are at significantly increased risk.
- LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020).
- The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
- The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth..
And among minority youth who are dealing with racial stress…
ABC NEWS Experts are calling for a public health approach to preventing suicide among Black youth. Recent data show suicide attempts and deaths have been increasing disproportionately among Black children and teens compared to their White peers. Research suggests there are multiple socioeconomic factors associated with this trend, including experiences of racism and discrimination—both in the medical system and in society. While issues such as clinician bias and limited access to mental health care need to be addressed, experts say efforts to prevent early adversity, such as exposure to poverty and violence, are also critical. "We all know that those environmental factors actually change the way that people feel and the way they think, and it contributes to emotional health,” said Tami D. Benton, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and president-elect of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “So I think addressing many of those social factors is really the key.” According to Benton and other experts, preventing suicide among Black youth requires a comprehensive, community-based approach that includes efforts to ensure their physical and emotional safety.
All of these particular circumstances, a higher rate of veterans, LGBTQ harassment and racial stress can — IMO — logically be found more often in Red States.
We of course hear from our GOP/MAGA friends that the problem is “Gun Free Zones” where people are more vulnerable. The only solution to a bad guy with a gun is a “Good Guy” with a gun. How that would apply to an attempted suicide I would love to know. What are you gonna do, shot the guy that’s already trying to kill himself? Again, according to the Gun Violence Archive, the instances of “defensive” gun use are so low as to be nearly irrelevant.
Just looking at 2019 where we have complete data when you have 15,448 murders and 23,941 suicides by gun — the fact is that there were 1,597 defensive uses really doesn’t mean all that much. It’s 10.3% of the murders and 6.6% of the suicides. That leaves no real solution for 89.7% and 93.4% of the cases. Actually, it’s no solution at all for the suicides, but I digress. We already have more guns in this country than we have people — so how many more would it take to get the “defense” stat up to 30% or 50%? 500 Million guns? 700 Million? And in the process how many more would have easy access to a weapon to kill themselves? Truly, the real deciding factor to this is the fact of the matter is that violent gun crime, mass shootings and gun suicides are linked mainly to lax gun laws. https://www.americanprogress.org/.../fact-sheet-weak-gun.../
Homicide rates are higher in states with weaker gun laws
- States that received an “F” grade based on the strength of their gun laws—according to the latest scorecard from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence—saw the highest homicide rates:1
- States with “F” grades saw 25 percent higher homicide rates than states with “C” or “D” grades.2
- States with “F” grades saw 61 percent higher homicide rates than states with “A” or “B” grades—states with the strongest gun laws.3
- The states with the highest firearm mortality rates are Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Wyoming.4 These states all received an “F” grade for their weak gun laws.5
- Children and teenagers are most vulnerable in states with weaker gun laws: In 2020, the 10 states with the highest rates of gun deaths among children and teenagers ages 1–19 were Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Alabama.6 All of these states received an “F” grade for their weak gun laws.
- Reports also suggest that rates of nonfatal gunshot injuries sustained during assaults are higher in states with weaker gun laws: In 2017, the most recent year with available data across all states, states that received an “F” grade had a rate of nonfatal gunshot injuries that was 22 percent higher than states with “C” or “D” grades and 59 percent higher than states with “A” or “B” grades.
Mass shootings are increasing faster in states with weak gun laws
- A 2019 study found that U.S. state gun laws have become more permissive in recent decades, concluding: “States with more permissive gun laws and greater gun ownership had higher rates of mass shootings, and a growing divide public shooting occurring.23
- When a mass shooting occurred, states with a large-capacity magazine ban had 38 percent fewer fatalities and 77 percent fewer nonfatal injuries.24
So it’s not lax crime-coddling DA’s that are fueling the rise in murder and gun crimes, it's not the effort to “Defund the Police”, it's the fact that so many states — particularly Texas allowing concealed carry without a permit — have recently loosened their gun laws, allowing more and more unvetted persons to possess a gun. Those people are not cowed by the prevalence of guns in their general society, even with that knowledge they are still emboldened to commit gun crimes, mass shootings and suicides in far larger numbers than those in states with more stringent and restrictive gun laws.
That DA is not an idiot. He’s right on point.