- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One of President Trump’s signature issues — and one continually fact-checked by the mainstream media — is lowering crime rates in our major cities.

“Look at what’s happening in Chicago — hundreds of shootings, hundreds of deaths. I’ll tell you what’s happening in Chicago, and many other places,” Mr. Trump told a Florida rally last week regarding the country’s crime rates.

The New York Times was quick to call the statement part of what Mr. Trump “got wrong” during his speech.

Chicago did experience a surge in homicides last year, with more than 750 people killed. The country’s third-largest city, along with three other urban areas, contributed to a jump in the national homicide rate in 2016. But, overall, both violent crime and property crime have fallen since the early 1990s,” The Times triumphantly declared — pushing their narrative that Mr. Trump is a perpetual liar.

But the paper of record was also being misleading — cherry-picking its numbers.

According to the FBI crime statistics in 2015, crime rates did increase from the year prior: Murder rates were up 10 percent, rape increased 5 percent, aggravated assault rose 4 percent, and robbery was up 1 percent. A preliminary analysis of 2016 also showed cities across the country experienced a 6.3 increase in violent crime.

Naysayers, like The Times, say — oh yes, crime rates are increasing, but they remain near historic lows compared to the record levels reached in the 1990s.

Not so in four U.S. cities, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“Murder rates in four of the nation’s big cities have returned to levels not seen since the 1990s, a surge that police officials are struggling to slow even as crime nationally is near historic lows,” The Journal reported.

Murders in Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Memphis have skyrocketed. Police chiefs interviewed by The Journal blamed the surge on increased gang violence, poverty, strained community relations and weak federal enforcement of gun laws.

Mr. Trump has correctly identified a problem in our inner cities that many in the media would like to ignore — or downplay.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Trump — speaking in hyperbole — said parts of Chicago are “worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East that we talk about. So we’re going to do a lot of work on the inner cities.”

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