Accuracy in Media

CNN’s Candy Crowley quizzed Vice President Joe Biden Sunday about his controversial remarks last week that if the Republicans don’t pass the President’s jobs bill, there will be more rapes and murders.

Crowley: Let me tell you the things, in case you haven’t seen it, that makes the blogosphere—the conservative blogosphere—explode. Just ask you a really direct question.

Biden: Sure.

Crowley: Which is, is it your intention to say, when you give these speeches, that if Republicans don’t pass the President’s jobs bill, they will be responsible for increases in rape and murder?

Biden: Well no. Here—here’s what my point is. It is a fact, ever since I wrote the crime bill 20 years ago, we’ve put to rest the notion that if you have more cops, there’s less crime. When you drastically cut the number of police in cities, which is happening all across America, crime goes up. That is a fact. Now, they either are going to figure out how to help those cities the way we want to help them, or some other way, but if they don’t get help, crime is going to continue to go up. It’s that simple. It’s not a – it’s not an ideological point, it’s not a political point; it’s just a physical reality.

Crowley then pointed out that the serious crime rate in 2010 was down six percent to which Biden responded:

Biden: Oh, that’s true. But the crime rate—but you didn’t have the emasculation. They’ve laid off over 15,000 cops, 10,000 in the last 18 months. And in Flint, Michigan, in Camden, New Jersey, their police forces are cut by almost half. And look, there’s a cycle here. What happens is when—when the economy tanks,  when foreclosures increase exponentially, when homes get abandoned, drug outfits move in, arsons are—go up, way up, you have incr—and that drives down property costs. That causes a spiral, that drives down revenue available for the cities and counties. They lay off more cops. The more cops that are laid off, the more crime that occurs. So, the question is, we—we—we—we have an answer. What’s their answer? Or do they think the federal government has no obligation? I respect it if they think that. But the truth is we can fix this problem now.

First of all, as Steve Chapman of Reason magazine pointed out in 2007, lower crime rates tend to be the result of a variety of factors and adding more police does little to affect the crime rate.

That was borne out in a study of crime rates in Columbia, Missouri that showed crime rates were all over the map despite an increase in the police force and was actually higher in 2008 than 2000 when there were 15% fewer officers.

Second, is Biden blaming the Obama economy for creating a cycle of layoffs of police and thus, increased crime in the future?

Third, if the police layoffs have been as devastating as Biden would have us believe then why don’t we have rampant lawlessness in the streets?

Biden knows that hiring more police won’t dramatically alter the crime rate, but it’s a great scare tactic to convince taxpayers that they need to cough up another $447 billion to fund another Obama proposal.






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