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Fact Check Donald Trump: IS Violent Crime Really “Rising in Major Cities Across the Country?”

In North Dakota on Thursday May 26, Donald Trump made the following claim:

“We have to make our communities safe again. Violent crime is rising in major cities across the country. This is unacceptable. Every parent has the right to raise their kids in safety.”

Is Donald Trump’s claim true?  Is violent crime really “rising in major cities across the country?”  There’s a simple way to find out: a check of the Uniform Crime Reports aggregated from police reports across the United States and placed into a single annual Crime in the United States report by the FBI.  The FBI calculates a violent crime rate for cities big and small across the nation, measured as the number of murders, non-negligent homicides, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies.

The following are violent crime rate trends between 1985 and 2014 (the last year for which final data is available) for the ten largest cities in the United States (with city size as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau) — New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, and San Jose:

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000 Population, 1985-2014, Uniform Crime Reports

(Methodological note: rapes are not tallied by the FBI for Chicago because the Chicago police count reports of rape in a manner different from the federal standard.  But because this issue is consistent for the city of Chicago across years, the trend in violent crimes in Chicago is still meaningful.)

As you can see, the trend is for violent crimes in America’s major cities to be flat or, more commonly, on the decline.  There is no violent crime wage in America’s major city.  Donald Trump is simply not telling the truth — either because he is ignorant and does not know what he’s talking about, or because he knows the truth but finds it preferable to spread falsehood.

2 thoughts on “Fact Check Donald Trump: IS Violent Crime Really “Rising in Major Cities Across the Country?””

  1. Colton says:

    Why are you citing information that ends in 2014 when Trump is speaking about a specific rise in crime in 2016?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Because 2014 data is the latest available data on crime. 2015 data comes out this fall. 2016 data comes out in fall 2017.

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