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Here's what Biden admin, cheerleading media get wrong on crime stats

OpinionHere's what Biden admin, cheerleading media get wrong on crime stats

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On June 10, the FBI released its quarterly report on crime statistics. Right on cue, folks on the left were quick to point out how the Biden administration has reduced crime in America

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes declared “in every year of the Biden administration violent crime has come down.” CNN reported that the murder rate “is plunging.” Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to the data as a “historic decline in violent crime.”

The left expects the American people will just accept these claims hook, line and sinker.

President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 13, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 13, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Like any law-abiding citizen and a career prosecutor, I welcome any reduction in crime. But my experience also senses something “fishy” about the data. An intended distraction. A “blue herring” of sorts. The waft of skepticism about Biden’s claims of lowering “crime rates” is pungent.

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Here’s why.

Let’s first admit that crime data is incomplete data, but it has never been more incomplete than over the last three years. Crime data is reported to the FBI voluntarily by each of the approximately 19,000 state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide. Those agencies can choose to report inaccurate data, partial data, or no data at all. 

In 2021, full participation in the FBI’s crime data collection system dropped to 60%. In 2022, the most current statistical year, there was a meager 69% agency participation rate and there is no reason to think agency participation has increased since. 

Part of the issue is that the FBI began requiring more granular crime data from agencies in 2021, posing a challenge to agencies and turning cops into statisticians. However, this also required the curtain to be pulled back on larger population center crime data, causing cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and others with large police departments to simply stop reporting crime data entirely or report manipulated crime stats.

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Despite the millions in federal grant dollars those large PDs receive each year to collect and report their crime stats, the embarrassment of the crime occurring in those jurisdictions apparently wasn’t worth the effort. 

When our nation’s largest cities do not report accurate crime data, it is worse than meaningless to cite “crime rates” (crime stats based on per 100,000 persons). Statistical analysis is only as good as the data. This is why raw numbers become more significant.

Starting to smell it?

Be wary of Biden’s claims of crime rate reductions. In his March 19 statement, Biden took credit for a 13% reduction in the murder crime rate in 2023 over the previous year. No official crime data for 2023 will be released until later this year, but even if the 13% reduction is true it is important to understand the statistical context of Biden’s three years as president

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If violent crime is truly declining, then why is Biden’s DOJ reporting that the number of violent crime victims actually rose in 2021 and 2022?

Biden’s Department of Justice reports a 42% increase in violent crime victims in 2022 over 2021 and a 15% increase in the number of property crime victims during the same period. Former President Trump did well to point this out in his recent speech in Philadelphia. 

In addition to crime victims rising under Biden, the number of arrests have significantly declined on his watch. Biden and his liberal friends in the media failed to mention the fact there have been fewer arrests on his watch compared to the Trump tenure. 

During Trump’s four years, there was an average of 2.7 million arrests per year. Biden has averaged 1.9 million, or a 30% decrease in arrests. There is no statistical logic to DOJ reporting more crime victims and fewer arrests. Only a continued, liberal suspension of disbelief and common sense would find this to be “good news for the American people,” as Biden has proclaimed.

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Another malodorous fact is that Biden has presided over three of the four most murderous years in the last quarter-century, with 2021 being the highest. Perhaps that is what Garland meant by “historic”? The raw data informs that there were 22,536 murders in 2021, 21,156 in 2022, and an estimated 18,400 in 2023. That is an average of 20,700 murders per year. 

By comparison, there were 18,206 murders in 2017, 16,937 in 2018, 16,952 in 2019, and 22,414 in 2020, or an average of 18,627 murders per year under Trump. America has suffered 11% more homicides under Biden on average. Also, Biden has overseen the highest raw number of murders in at least 25 years.

Claiming violent crime is down in “every year” of Biden’s tenure, as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and others on the left have done, is statistically (and intentionally) false.

Oh, the stench! 

It should not escape any of us that the claims of historic reductions in crime by the Biden administration, and liberal pundits parroting the braggadocio, never mentioned nonviolent crimes. Perhaps that is because those crime statistics under Biden are rotten too. 

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On average, the number of nonviolent crime victims is four times the amount of violent crime victims, if not higher. Under Biden, property crimes have risen in each of the past two years, the first time property crimes rose nationally in two consecutive years since 1991. 

Motor vehicle thefts, which are widely considered by law enforcement to be a primary indicator of crime trends (because unlike most other crime, nearly all motor vehicle thefts are reported), have risen 30% since Biden took over in 2021.

Investors valuating a business would not be impressed if that business set record losses in revenue in 2021, but then lost a little less in the following years. Parents would not celebrate a 13% improvement in reading comprehension in 2023 if the previous two years set records for illiteracy. Sports fans would not accept a coach bragging about another losing season because it was 13% better than last year’s record number of losses. 

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Data is often incomplete. It is why a legitimate statistical analysis caveats findings with standard errors or margins of error. But no such caveats came from this administration or the liberal, late-night bloviating bullhorns. Celebrating woefully incomplete data is an intended distraction. It is meant to keep the American people off the scent of the facts and offer an alternative universe to crime in America. 

It is Biden’s “blue herring”… and it stinks. 

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