A dangerous, dystopian America has become the Trump campaign’s happy place, says TCR Contributing Editor David J. Krajicek, writing for AlterNet. Speakers at the GOP convention in Cleveland portray a nation teetering on the brink of an apocalypse conveyed by criminals, terrorists, immigrants ,and Black Lives Matter. No one expressed that louder than ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who declared that, “The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe … They fear for their children and they fear for themselves. They fear for our police officers who are being targeted, with a target on their back.”
Giuliani vowed that Donald Trump would make America safe again, as did the president Giuliani worked for, Ronald Reagan. How safe were the good old days of Reagan? Not very. By any measure, the U.S. has far less crime under President Obama than during the Reagan years. That context is lost in the daily headlines and countless tweets about the latest crime atrocity, says New Orleans-based crime data expert Jeff Asher. “When you ask about crime, people always believe that the worst crime era ever is here and now, more so than any other point in history,” Asher says. Comparing reported crimes from 1987, after seven years of Reagan anti-crime policies, to 2014, Obama’s sixth year, the violent crime rate under Reagan was 612 instances of violence for every 100,000 people. In 2014, it was 365 per 100,000, a decline of 40 percent. In real numbers, Americans in 2014 reported 320,000 fewer violent crimes than in 1987. Robbery, regarded by experts as a better bellwether than murder of a community’s overall safety, has declined sharply since the Reagan years—from about 518,000 reported cases in 1987 to 326,000 in 2014.