Among falsehoods President-elect Donald Trump has repeated over and over again: “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels.” “The murder rate in the United States, it’s the worst, the highest it’s been in 45 years.” “You won’t hear this from the media: We have the highest murder rate in this country in 45 years.” You won’t hear it from the media because it isn’t true, the Los Angeles Times reports. It’s also not the whole story. Though far below their record levels in the 1980s and 1990s, homicides have jumped dramatically in some U.S. cities over the last two years, breaking from the decades-long decline in violent crime as Trump prepares to take control of federal law enforcement agencies.
Chicago saw at least 762 victims, the most since 1996. Killings there soared more than 50 percent compared with 2015. Memphis saw a record 228 deaths. Las Vegas had its highest homicide total in at least 20 years, and so did San Antonio. “Can we explain either the general direction, or more importantly, the pattern of change?” asks law Prof. Franklin Zimring of the University of California Berkeley who has studied crime rates. “The answer is: not really.” Zimring has his doubts about whatever Trump’s agenda, the president could make a clear impact on the homicide rate. “We can’t just give it another dose of what worked last week, because we don’t know what worked last week,” Zimring says. He adds, alluding to presidents trying to bring down crime: “If Nixon didn’t, if Lyndon [Johnson] didn’t, if Jimmy Carter didn’t and Ronald Reagan didn’t, then why should Mr. Trump?”