It Wasn’t The Pandemic That Increased Violent Crime In America

A demonstrator watches a fire burn in the street after clashing with law enforcement near the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct shortly after midnight on June 8, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.
Seattle riots

The New York Times’ Mara Gay made yet another astounding claim on Thursday’s “Morning Joe” when she attributed the spike in violent crime not only to a lack of federal gun-control laws, but also to the “general upheaval” in the country.

She prefaced this by saying experts can’t explain exactly why crime has spiked across the country in the past year, but said that people (presumably, like herself) who have looked at the issue believe it is due to the “disruption, trauma, grief, joblessness, homelessness, and just general upheaval that the United States has gone through, particularly communities of color and people living in poverty across the United States.”

Gay did not name the pandemic as the specific cause of this “upheaval,” but others have used similar language. Law professor John Pfaff, for example, tweeted as much on May 14 in response to a Politico article suggesting the Black Lives Matter protests played a role in the current spike in crime, though the left-leaning website notably didn’t say so specifically.

“The exchange exhibited the central role public safety has taken in the eight-way Democratic primary, as gun violence escalates throughout the city one year after anti-police protesters occupied the streets,” Politico wrote in a report about a debate featuring the Democratic New York City mayoral candidates.

Pfaff took issue with the linkage of the “anti-police protesters” to the spike in violence.

“The protests weren’t the only thing that happened in 2020! There was also a pandemic that shut down schools, upended the economy etc etc etc,” Pfaff tweeted.

But civil rights attorney Hans Bader wrote at the time “recent spikes in violent crime aren’t due to COVID-19 or the economy: homicides fell during the 2007-2009 recession, and in many other countries, murder rates actually went down during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

London, for example, saw a 16% decline in its murder rate in 2020, even though England’s economy shrunk 9.9% during the pandemic, while America’s shrunk only 3.5%. In Italy, murders fell by 14%. Murders in France declined 2% in 2020, while Japan is seeing its lowest murder level since World War II.

Meanwhile, in America, shootings have increased 97% in 2020 and continue to rise now. Democrats like Gay and others blame America’s gun laws, even though crime rates aren’t increasing in places that have instituted more gun freedom, like adopting constitutional carry laws.

What is clear to most – except for the Left – is that the rise in violence coincided with anti-police rhetoric and laws as well as lawlessness in major cities across the U.S. following the police-involved death of George Floyd. The treatment of police by Democrats and their media supporters led to massive resignations and retirements in the police force.

The New York Times addressed the issue after the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina announced it had lost 84 officers and would no longer be able to respond to numerous crimes, including theft from a vehicle if there is no suspect information and simple assaults reported after they occurred. The Times reported on one cop’s experience:

As protests surged across the country last year over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, Officer Lindsay C. Rose in Asheville, N.C., found her world capsized.

Various friends and relatives had stopped speaking to her because she was a cop. During a protest in June around Police Headquarters, a demonstrator lobbed an explosive charge that set her pants on fire and scorched her legs.

She said she was spit on. She was belittled. Members of the city’s gay community, an inclusive clan that had welcomed her in when she first settled in Asheville, stood near her at one event and chanted, “All gay cops are traitors,” she said.

Rose took months off but decided to leave the force when she returned, after serving for seven years. She joined the 84 officers who quit.

The Times admitted the protests and the general anti-cop sentiments led to the resignations and noted that similar situations are occurring across the country, with retirements up 45% and resignations up 18% between April 2020 and April 2021.

Of course, police forces were shrinking before the George Floyd riots, but the ensuing destruction accelerated the trend.

A lack of support for law and order along with an implicit acceptance of violence and destruction did far more to raise crime rates than the pandemic, which kept people home and away from others.

Even though the Times reported on this phenomenon, it doesn’t appear to have set in with Gay.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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