A recent study by WalletHub has revealed that major US cities have witnessed a significant surge of over 10% in murder rates in the past two years. The study analyzed 45 of the country’s most populous cities and observed that the cities with the biggest homicide rate problems were Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; Richmond, Virginia; Washington, DC; and Detroit, Michigan, all of which are led by left-wing mayors.
The rise in murder rates has been faster in Democrat-led cities compared to their Republican counterparts, according to New York Post. While the Covid-19 pandemic may have somewhat contributed to the initial spike in homicides, researchers have attributed the exacerbation of the issue in progressive cities to soft-on-crime policing policies.
Chidike Okeem, an assistant professor at Western New England University, highlighted the impact of social movements such as the public unrest following the killing of George Floyd in the ongoing rise in homicides in progressive cities.
“As a response to the social unrest, some officers have embraced ‘de-policing,’ which is the idea of not engaging in proactive policing practices in order to avoid increased scrutiny and censure. Without pronounced police presence, violence proliferates,” Okeem said.
According to Gregg Etter, a professor at the University of Central Missouri, progressive policies such as defending the police and implementing no-cash bail have played a significant role in the increase of the national homicide rate. Etter suggests that politicians, under the pressure of social unrest, are inclined to offer a “one-size-fits-all” solution, but instead make decisions that benefit their careers rather than addressing the issue at hand.
Etter’s argument highlights the growing concern among some experts that policies aiming to defund the police and reform the criminal justice system will have consequences, such as an increase in crime rates. The implementation of no-cash bail policies, which allows suspects to be released without posting bail, has also been criticized for potentially enabling repeat offenders to commit more crimes.
Etter’s perspective emphasizes the importance of evidence-based policymaking and the need to consider the consequences of policy decisions. While there is a need for reform in the criminal justice system, policymakers must take a careful and thoughtful approach to ensure that their policies do not exacerbate the very issues they aim to address.
“If you have a problem with police use of force in isolated instances, rather than deal the problem or the problem officers, defund the police. This results in a less-effective police force, increased response times, lower police morale, and an increasing unwillingness by the police to engage in proactive policing,” Etter said.
The study’s release coincides with recent events that have occurred in Detroit. A few days ago, prominent neurosurgeon Devon Hoover was discovered shot to death and covered with a plastic sheet in his home, and just over a week ago, a gunman opened fire in a “targeted” attack outside a murder victim’s funeral, resulting in fatalities.
The researchers issued a troubling warning that the upward trend in the murder rate does not appear to be slowing down.
According to FBI data released in February, murderers in the United States have a 50% likelihood of evading arrest and prosecution for their crimes. The homicide clearance rate has been on a downward trend since the 1960s, but it witnessed a worrying decline during the pandemic.