President Donald Trump points to spiking crime and delivers stark statistics on murders and shootings as part of his “law and order” campaign that suggests cities are overrun with violence that only he can stop. Several cities have seen a surge in murders, but that is only a small snapshot of the nation’s crime. His strategy shows how data can be molded to suit the moment, reports the Associated Press. Several cities have seen a surge in murders this summer, but those numbers are only a small snapshot of crime in the United States, and his strategy is highlighting how data can be easily molded to suit the moment. At a town hall Tuesday for undecided voters in Pennsylvania, Trump said he believed crime was soaring in cities after protests against police brutality. He has tried to link the violence to the protests, and to scare white, suburban voters and encourage them to back his reelection.
“Look at New York,” Trump said. “The city was safe, and then all of a sudden we have a mayor who starts cutting the police force and crime is up 100 percent… ” Shootings are up in New York by about 86 percent so far this year, but overall, reported crime is down two percent. There are 34,000 uniformed officers, the same as in recent years. Murders are up 35 percent. Most of the recent spike in violence nationally is neither linked directly to the protests nor is it moving to typically lower-crime areas, said University of Missouri St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld. Meghan Hollis of the Ronin Institute cautions against drawing conclusions about crime. She says, “Unfortunately, I think people are seizing on an environment of fear right now that’s pervading in all aspects of our lives to discuss potential risk that may or may not be there.”