Credit for Falling Crime
Trump and Sessions' misleading claims on crime decline risk reinvigoration of bad policies.
Sessions has been in office for a year, having spent the vast majority of his time pushing a false, misleading narrative about a nationwide crime wave.
But recently he's switched to taking a victory lap: It's morning in America, and he has singlehandedly ended "American carnage" after just 365 days in office. That bold – not to mention false – claim followed the release of FBI data showing a preliminary drop-off in crime rates during the first half of 2017.
Researchers know better. The Justice Department doesn't turn on a dime, and policies implemented mere months prior can't bring crime down this quickly. Sessions takes credit for the FBI's preliminary six-month data, saying that President Trump's tough talk and retrograde ideas somehow worked their magic on police and prosecutors across the country. They might as well say they make the sun come up.
Let's take this step by step. First, the administration's rhetoric of a crime wave overtaking our communities is just that – rhetoric. On one point, Sessions has his facts straight: Violent crime in the United States has been on a general slide for decades. In fact, violent crime has fallen by 49 percent since 1991, and property crime by 52 percent.
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