An editorial in The New York Times argues that there is no national crime wave while dismissing the fact that violent crime has spiked in all major U.S. cities.

The Times' editors write, "The rate of violent crime, including murder, has been going down for a quarter century, and is at its lowest in decades. On average, it is half of what it was in 1990, and in some places even lower." They cite the fact that New York City that murders were at 2,245 in 1990, while in 2010 murders were at 536, which is 50 percent higher than the projected murders in 2015.

The editorial continues:

The report does, however, single out five cities — Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and St. Louis — where murder rates remain far higher than the national average and have reached levels not seen since the 1990s. But these cities also share several economic and demographic characteristics, including extremely high rates of unemployment and poverty, along with shrinking populations. The murder spikes in these cities do not represent a sprawling national epidemic of violence. Instead, they appear rooted in what the report calls “profound economic decline” and, as elsewhere, the violence in those places falls most heavily on communities of color.

The Times is basically dismissing the higher crime rates in major U.S. cities based on "economic decline." If economic decline were the sole factor, then the entire country would have higher crime rates since the economy has been sluggish over the past seven years.

There was a report in the Times on August 31 that had this graphic:

The article says that while the overall violent crime level among these major cities has not reached the heights of the early 1990s, the increasing crime levels are "raising alarm" among city police chiefs.

"May see its first uptick in the homicide rate after 25 years of decline."

USA Today, on New York City

Heather MacDonald in The Wall Street Journal wrote about these alarming statistics over the past year:

  • Milwaukee: Homicides increased by 180 percent
  • St. Louis: Shootings, robberies and homicides increased by 39 percent, 43 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
  • Atlanta: 32 percent increase in murders.
  • Los Angeles: shootings and other violent felonies rose 25 percent.
  • New York: Murder increased by 13 percent and gun violence by 7 percent.

Despite the Times' claiming that crime in New York City isn't as bad as it seems, USA Today reports that the city "may see its first uptick in the homicide rate after 25 years of decline."

The Times may be right that there is no generalized crime wave, but the spike in crime among major U.S. cities should not be dismissed.