A provocative Op-ed piece in Thursday’s Washington Post lays the blame on three U.S. cities for at least half of the rise in the homicide body count last year, which has opened the door to what the authors call “hype” about a new violent crime wave.
Those cities are Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. That fact is underscored by a report in Thursday’s Chicago Tribune that revealed:
Nearly 100 people have been shot in Chicago in less than a week, pushing the number of shooting victims so far this year to more than 2,500 — about 800 more than this time last year, according to data kept by the Tribune.
“Between last Friday afternoon and early Thursday, at least 99 people were shot in the city, 24 of them fatally. At least nine people were killed on Monday alone, the deadliest day in Chicago in 13 years, according to Tribune data. Among the wounded that day was a 10-year-old boy shot in the back as he played on his front porch in Lawndale.
“The number of shooting victims in Chicago stood at 2,514 Thursday morning. At this time last year, 1,725 people had been shot. The city has not seen this level of gun violence since the 1990s, a trend the Police Department has blamed on lax gun laws and feuding gang factions.”
But according to Washington Post Op-ed authors Mark Holden and Ronal Serpas, “statements on rising murders are highly misleading. The truth is that Americans are still experiencing hard-won historic lows in crime.”
They refer to an article by Heather MacDonald at the Manhattan Institute that said homicides have increased “nearly 17 percent in the 56 largest U.S. cities last year.” She was apparently echoing something said by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during the Republican convention last month.
But Holden and Serpas are taking this crime assertion to task, sort of. Their piece acknowledges the crime problem in the big cities without noting that one thing Chicago, Baltimore and the District of Columbia have in common are long-running liberal Democrat administrations and restrictive gun control policies those administrations stubbornly cling to.
Here’s what the WaPo opinion piece said in part:
By 2014, violent crime had fallen by half from its 1991 peak. Property crime was down 49 percent. Crime overall was 66 percent lower in major cities. No one disputes this decades-long trend…
“This rise in homicide is alarming on its face. But half of 2015’s murder increase occurred in Baltimore, Chicago and the District — the very cities that those pushing the crime panic repeatedly use as examples.”
This does pose something of a problem for the gun prohibition lobby, which uniformly supports the liberal anti-gun agenda. While crime statistics have declined over most of America, gun ownership has gone up sharply. As noted by a recent report from the Crime Prevention Research Center, “During President Obama’s administration, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared to over 14.5 million – a 215% increase since 2007.”
Among the report’s findings were an increase of 1.73 million new concealed carry permits and licenses in 2015, eclipsing the previous record of 1.69 million new carry permits the previous year.
And according to The Daily Signal’s analysis of the CPRC report, these armed citizens are less likely to commit crimes than other people.
As noted that news report:
“From 2007 through 2015, permits issued by state and local governments increased by 215 percent, to more than 14 million Americans, according to the data.
“The study compared permit holders to police, who committed 703 crimes from 2005 to 2007, and 113 of those were firearm violations.”
This belies years of rhetoric from the gun prohibition lobby that increased gun ownership would lead to more violent crime. More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens hasn’t had that result. The violence in Baltimore, Chicago and the District is largely the work of a criminal element that shouldn’t have guns in the first place.