Data on U.S. Murder Rise Due on Presidential Debate Day

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The FBI’s national crime data for 2015, which is expected to show a substantial overall increase in murders,will be released on the morning of the first presidential debate on September 26, likely providing a dramatic new talking point for Donald Trump, The Guardian reports.

For months, the Republican candidate has been pointing ominously to rising violence in Chicago and other cities, and arguing that Americans are at risk—and that Democrats have failed blacks in particular. How large the nationwide murder increase might be for all of 2015 is still unclear, but some estimates would make the increase the largest since 1990, or even 1968.

Whatever the precise nationwide increase is, criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri St. Louis said it will almost certainly be “a much larger rise in homicide than we’ve seen in many, many years.” Trump, who has branded himself the “law and order candidate,” pledged in his July speech at the Republican national convention that “the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end.”

He tweeted in August, “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels. African Americans will vote for Trump because they know I will stop the slaughter going on!” President Obama and other Democrats have pushed back that overall crime and murder fell to historic lows during Obama’s presidency, and that the troubling murder increase has been concentrated in a few cities. Murders increased nearly 17 percent across the nation’s 56 largest cities in 2015, Rosenfeld found in a Justice Department-funded study published in June. The increase was “real and nearly unprecedented,” he concluded.

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