Fact-Checking GOP: Police Killings, Crime Fear Down

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Republican speakers at this week’s national convention have often made points about crime and policing, but are they accurate? The Marshall Project reports on several of them. The phrase ‘Obama’s War on Cops’ has been a favorite Republican talking point, amplified by the recent deaths of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Proponents often cite the rise in killings of police officers between 2013 and 2014,. What’s missing is the fact that 2013 was a record-low year, with the fewest killings of police in a half-century of recorded data. In fact, police killings have declined steadily since the 1970s, with the two safest years for cops both occurring under Obama.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke cited a recent Gallup poll finding that more than half of all Americans now worry a great deal about crime and violence, up consistently and dramatically from a few years ago, and for African-Americans, that number is 70 percent. It’s true that a March Gallup poll found that 53 percent of respondents — and 68 percent of “nonwhites” — said they worry a “great deal” about crime and violence an uptick compared to 43 percent in 2015, 47 percent in 2013 and 42 percent in 2012. Much depends on how you ask the question. Last year, Gallup found that 59 percent of respondents considered crime “extremely” or “very” serious, but only 12 percent expressed the same level of concern when asked about “the area where you live.” Last month, asked an open-ended question about “the most important problem” facing the nation, only 3 percent identified crime and violence. Back in 1996, 37 percent put crime at the top of their list.


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