American Violence: Myth and Reality

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American flag at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

On an average day, 96 Americans are killed by guns. Mass shootings, such as the Parkland Fl., school tragedy and the October, 2018 massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, continue to make tragic headlines.

But how violent is America?

The toll of violence has underlined arguments made by officials in the Trump administration and others that violent crime and “carnage” have re-emerged as threats to Americans’ public safety.

The data, however, tells another story.  Homicide rates are—with important exceptions—continuing to decline.

All the same, there are many other dimensions of violence in America that do raise concerns, such as domestic violence and hate crimes.

George Gascon

George Gascón

Leading criminologists, policymakers and activists gathered in New York Thursday for a  conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York aimed at sifting through the “myth and reality” of violence, and the various preventive approaches taken by governments and non-governmental organizations at federal, state and local levels.

George Gascón, the District Attorney of San Francisco and former police chief of San Francisco will deliver the opening address.

The two-day conference, organized by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay (publisher of the Crime Report) and supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, will be livestreamed here beginning at 9 a.m. ET.

Speakers include renowned criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College; James Fox of Northeastern University and a commentator for USA Today; Daniel Isom, former St. Louis police chief; Stephanie Ueberall of the New York City Citizens Crime Commission;  and Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Daniel Isom

Daniel Isom

Conference attendees include 28 journalists from U.S.-based print, online or broadcast media, selected as reporting fellows.

The conference, the 14th annual John Jay/Harry Frank Symposium on Crime in America, will also examine whether hate crimes should be treated as terrorism. Invited speakers include Karen Greenberg of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law; Faiza Patel, of the New York University Brenner Center’s Liberty and National Security Program; the Hon. Henry Wingate, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the southern District of Mississippi; and George Selim of the Anti-Defamation League.

In addition to the main theme, the 2019 symposium will explore other topical areas of criminal justice that are beginning to receive attention from specialists and the press, including the growing efforts to re-think  the U.S. system of community supervision, the opioid epidemic and court reform.

A special panel will be dedicated to analyzing the impact of the 2016 Midterm Elections on justice reform at both the federal and state levels.

Watch The Crime Report for coverage of the panels.

For a news release on the Symposium events, and a list of the 2019 Fellows, click here.

The public agenda for the conference can be downloaded here.

The 2019 symposium is organized by John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice, and supported with a grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Additional supporters include the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, and the Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project.

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