View From London: U.S. Murders Shaking Police Departments


Here’s a new view of murder in America from The Times of London: When Newark tallied its crime statistics for 2006, the number of murders had risen for the fourth straight year to a new record of 106. There were 12 more killings in the first five weeks of this year. The Times says that other U.S. cities are “grappling with a wave of violent crime that has confounded trends of the past decade and shaken police departments across America.” Murders in New York climbed from 540 in 2005 to 590 last year, although officials attribute much of that increase to an unusual number of victims who died in 2006 after failing to recover from 2005 assaults.

The statistics amount to “the makings of an epidemic,” said o Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. The Times asserts that the new data “have prompted an angry debate about why murders are rising after many years when police claimed to be winning the war on violent crime.” Criminologists and other experts criticize police for failing to treat black-on-black violence seriously – in effect, standing back while gang members slaughter each other. The Bush administration has also been accused of diverting billions of dollars from police budgets to pay for antiterrorist measures. “They have put homeland security before home-town security,” said an unidentified law professor.


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