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it's NOT the defund the police movement, homicide rates are up even where they maintained police funding.


you're being manipulated. The effort to blame Democrats for crime may offer a preview of Republicans' strategy for upcoming elections: a new twist on an old "law and order" argument from the party's past, harkening back to President Richard Nixon.

Just as it did half a century ago, the argument ignores the complicated reasons for fluctuations in crime rates — a list that today includes the upheaval wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd by police. Homicides also rise where police funding maintained

Yet homicide rates are also increasing in cities that didn't cut spending.

In Houston, a city led by a Democratic mayor, killings have increased, but so, too, has funding for police.

Nashville, Tennessee, also led by a Democratic mayor, increased the police budget but has seen homicides spike 50% so far this year over last.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Fresno, California, have also seen more killings so far in 2021. Both cities have Republican mayors.

Meanwhile, other types of crime are down, according to preliminary statistics and researchers who say crime initially dropped around the world after the pandemic began. While cities are reporting jumps in their homicide rate, there's been no similar increase in other crimes, like burglaries, robberies or drug offenses.

That's not what you'd expect if calls to defund the police were leading to a rash of crime, Abrams said.

"Any theory explaining the rise in homicides would also have to explain why we haven't seen a spike in other kinds of crimes," he said.

So why are killings up?

Economic losses and personal stress brought on by the pandemic are one suggestion. COVID-19 also disrupted in-person education and many community programs designed to quell violence. It put a strain on police departments, hospitals, courts and other institutions tasked with dealing with the impact of crime.

Other possibilities include rising gun ownership and the protests over police killings that could have emboldened criminals. Then there are the host of factors that contribute to localized violence, including gangs, drugs and poverty.

Related:Curbing gun violence in America requires stronger restrictions, not weaker ones | Opinion

James Alan Fox, a criminologist and professor at Boston's Northeastern University, said small changes to a police budget, or the party affiliation of a particular mayor, aren't likely to play a big role. Some violence fluctuations are part of long-standing problems.

"It's not related to which party is ruling," Fox said. "But you can win a lot of votes by pushing fear."

Nixon used a similar argument in his successful 1968 presidential campaign, arguing that protests over civil rights "have torn 300 cities apart." The strategy helped galvanize support among white voters concerned about racial integration, according to Elizabeth Hinton, a Yale Law School professor who studies the history of criminalization in America.

Now, just as then, misleading claims about crime seem designed to exploit racism among white voters while ignoring the real reasons behind the increase in homicides, she said.

"Instead of linking this to COVID and mass unemployment and general anxiety, they're saying that somehow calls to defund the police are behind this, as a way to justify more policing as a response," Hinton said.[/quote]


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