Accuracy in Media

Mother Jones and Teen Vogue, yes Teen Vogue, are claiming that the steep increase in crime nationwide has nothing to do with the political efforts to defund the police despite stats showing violent crime in the US is way up as police face tighter budgets.

“Violent crime and murder rates are certainly up around the country compared to recent years,” said CNN last month. “Murder rates, already creeping up from a low of 4.4 murders per 100,000 people in 2014, certainly increased during and now after the pandemic.”

In fact, homicide rates are up 25% nationwide and show no signs of slowing soon.

The ongoing violence was one of the key campaign issues that saw anti-crime candidates finish first and second in the NYC Democrat mayoral race last week.

But neither Mother Jones nor Teen Vogue cited any concrete evidence that showed how taking cops off the street hasn’t contributed to rising crime.

Instead, both pleaded for patience, as people die.

“Most importantly, we need to have patience for change,” Takenya Nixon Brail, a public defender, writes in Teen Vogue, claiming that White neighborhoods have less crime because they have more amenities like grocery stores. “It is hard to imagine a society without, or with substantially less, policing, prosecution, and punishment because it is all we have known for so long.”

Brail argued that policing in her neighborhood made people feel less secure.

“Policing makes communities less safe and less healthy,” Brail writes. “Policing makes my community less safe and less healthy. Not only does policing fail to prevent violent crime, it creates conditions that allow for even more violence.”

In Brail’s city of Chicago, police say homicide rates are up 33% over 2019 as police budgets have tightened.

At Mother Jones, there was more of the same.

What many of those who conflate defunding the police with rising crime rates miss is how wrong, even dangerous, glib causalities about crime are,” writes Nathalie Baptiste in Mother Jones. “It’s too simple to say that crime is on the rise because of X.”

Unfortunately, for writer Baptiste at Mother Jones, dangerous and glib is one way we can describe her use of a study that she says proves defunding the police doesn’t cause crime to increase.

While it’s true that the study showed the decline in arrests didn’t cause homicides to go up, the study authors concluded that “research findings have demonstrated the effectiveness of proactive policing practices, such as targeted patrol, in reducing crime rates. The success of such tactics depends, in turn, on citizens’ belief that criminal offenders face an appreciable risk of arrest.”

In other words, the less perceived risk that criminals have of arrest, the higher the crime rate.

Larry Gibson, a progressive law professor at the University of Maryland School of Law who served in the Justice Department under President Carter, argued just last week that despite Baltimore being one of the leading cities in the nation for murder, their defunding efforts should be hailed because defunding in Baltimore is “not producing this acceleration of homicides that we are seeing nationwide.”

Mother Jones is up to its old game of defending failed progressive policies.  What the heck is Teen Vogue doing?




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