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A Fact Check on Crime: Safety Takes Spotlight at Republican Convention

The numbers show the narrative of rising crime is wrong.

July 18, 2016

Tonight, Republican National Convention speakers will focus on the day’s theme: “Make America Safe Again.” Their narrative will likely parallel recent statements from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has said “crime is out of control, and rapidly getting worse.”

The claim is not supported by data. Nationally, crime has dropped 23 percent since 2006, according to a Brennan Center analysis released last month.

separate Center study saw crime drop in two-thirds of cities analyzed last year. However, it also noted the murder rate is up in some major cities, driven largely by problems in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” said Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.”

Likely to touch on crime from the podium tonight are former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

To talk to a Brennan Center expert on crime rates, contact Rebecca Autrey at or 646–292–8316.