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Mike Pence Stokes Inaccurate Fear of Crime in VP Debate

Far-Right Extremist Mike Pence is a FearmongerIn the Vice Presidential debate last night, this is what Mike Pence had to say about crime in the United States:

“You just heard Senator Kaine reject stop-and-frisk. Well, I would suggest to you that the families that live in our inner cities that are besieged by crime.”

Fact: Stop-and-frisk police searches on the basis of a person “looking like” a criminal have been found to be an unconstitutional violation of Americans’ basic civil rights. Mike Pence favors a return to the unconstitutional violation of Americans’ rights.

Fact: Crime has been on the decline for more than twenty years in the nation in general:

Property crime rate per 100,000 population in the United States, 1996-2015
Violent Crime Rate, 1996 to 2015

And in cities like Chicago:


Violent Crime is Down in Chicago in the last generation

And in cities like New York City:

Crime Trends in New York City: Down, Down, Down

And Washington, DC:

Crime Rate in Washington, DC

In city after city after city in America, crime rates have been falling for a generation.  There is no siege.

Mike Pence said:

“Too often with criminal aliens in the country, it’s bringing heartbreak.”

The reality is that there’s heartbreak and tragedy that has struck American families because people that came into this country illegally are now involved in criminal enterprise and activity.”

“There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives.”

Fact: In the most recent year of data from the U.S. Census, the incarceration rate in the United States is lower for immigrants than it is for people born in the United States:

Immigration and Incarceration Rate Data for 2015 from the American Community Survey

And it’s not just 2015. Previous years’ findings compiled for the National Bureau of Economic Research also finds that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.  Of course some immigrants commit crimes somewhere, but they seem to be less likely to commit crimes than the rest of us. The idea of immigrants as a particular, concentrated source of crime is just supported by available facts.

If Mike Pence is so intent in the debate of stoking fears about crime in general, about crime in cities and about crime by immigrants, and if on the basis of fear Mike Pence wants to violate the civil rights of Americans, and if the fears he stokes just aren’t supported by facts, what kind of candidate does that make Mike Pence?  If you vote for Mike Pence as a result, what kind of citizen does that make you?

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