The national murder total may rise 13.1 percent this year, estimates the Brennan Center of Justice, based on a survey of 30 big cities. Half of the increase will be due to the spike in Chicago alone, the Washington Post reports. Half of the 31.5 percent increase in murders between 2014 and 2016 is solely a function of increases in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., cities that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump often mentions in during campaign appearances. Crime overall is expected to remain flat, the center says. Violent crime is projected to rise by 5.5 percent, with half of the increase driven by Chicago (up 16 percent) and Los Angeles (up 17 percent).
Trump’s campaign is based in part on the ideas that the U.S. faces a deteriorating public safety picture and that only he is poised to address the problem. The Brennan Center suggests that “while Americans in urban areas have experienced more murders this year than last year, they are safer than they were five years ago and much safer than they were 25 years ago.” The center says its findings “undercut media reports referring to crime as ‘out of control’ or heralding a new nationwide crime wave.” Darrel Stephens of the Major Cities Chiefs Association told the Philadelphia Inquirer that every city experiencing higher homicide rates has different factors that dictate when and where crimes might happen, such as gang conflicts or drug markets. As a result, finding a common thread among cities is complicated. “It’s not the same thing in all the cities that have seen an increase,” he said.