Crime and fear: Here is why progressives were the ones who really lost the midterm races

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An endless parade of progressive “experts” on national news sites state that crime is down significantly and that record fear of crime is illogical.

The collective data says they are wrong. Their lack of sympathy for those concerned about crime is unnerving.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen on Sunday predicted that Democrats are going to have a “bad night” on election day because the party failed to listen to the most urgent needs of voters.

As of this writing, Republicans took the House with the Senate undecided. Republicans won the most gubernatorial elections.

A Complete Overview of Crime In The US

A layperson-friendly overview of crime since 2015 is available here.


Crime and violence were top issues in the midterm elections.

So I turn on the NBC Nightly News last week and I watch as the host and guest discuss the fact that crime is at historic lows, the right-wing is unnecessarily scaring people, and a quote stating that the Major Cities Chiefs Association cites a “slight” increase in crime when the same organization states that homicides (up 50 percent) and aggravated assaults (up 36 percent) are skyrocketing.

NBC Nightly News-Transcript

NBC Nightly News
November 4, 2022
7:19:29 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: As candidates fine-tune their closing messages ahead of Tuesday’s vote, an issue finding traction for many campaigns is voter worries about crime. But as we found, the state of crime in America is not always what it appears to be.

[Cuts to video]

HOLT: Tonight, fear is on the ballot. Crime now the centerpiece of campaigns across the country.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY) (via gubernatorial campaign ad): Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

HOLT: Fueled, some argue, not by reality but by videos of rampant lawlessness.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They smash glass display cases, filled their bags with jewelry, then took off.

HOLT: And some unsettling headlines.

ALEC KARAKATSANIS: I see an attempt by the right-wing to scare people into unwinding certain very smaller forms.

HOLT: Alec Karakatsanis is a civil rights attorney.

You know, when I pick up a tabloid and hear about somebody being pushed on the subway or assaulted on the street, that’s real and it’s scary.

KARAKATSANIS: Let me say this. If you look at the police and FBI reported crime rates, we are at near historic lows in the country. Crime has been falling since the 1990s.

HOLT: Here’s what we know. A flurry of data from 2021 and 2022 is conflicting and incomplete. But one recent survey from the recent Major Cities Chiefs Association shows a slight decrease (emphasis added) in murders in America’s biggest cities so far this year compared to last. While robbery and aggravated assault have seen a slight uptick.

Transcript Courtesy Of NewsBusters

Major Cities Chiefs Association-50% Increase In Homicides And A 36% Increase In Aggravated Assaults Since 2019

So if major news outlets (the NBC Nightly News is hardly the only source) misrepresents data, what do others say?

From Axios And The Major Cities Chiefs Association:

Homicides in major U.S. cities are dropping in 2022, but total violent crime continues to rise, according to a midyear survey of large law enforcement agencies.

Why it matters: The annual midyear survey shows that violent crime rates still haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, but homicides and rapes in some cities appear to be falling.

By the numbers: Overall violent crime spiked 4.2% from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2022, compared to the same period as last year, the survey by the Major Cities Chiefs Association found.

  • Robbery skyrocketed by nearly 12% and aggravated assaults increased by around 3%, the survey of 70 agencies found.
  • Homicides decreased by 2.4% and rapes fell by 5% in major cities, offering hope that some of the most violent crimes might be leveling off from significant increases in 2020, as reported to the FBI.

See the data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association here.

But compared to 2019 midyear figures from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the same cities in total have experienced a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults as of mid-year 2022.

Around six-in-ten registered voters (61%) say violent crime is very important when making their decision about who to vote for in this year’s congressional elections.

Yes, the economy is the number one issue (77 percent). Still, the next two categories, “Gun Policy” (62 percent) and “Violent Crime,” (60 percent) come very close, which leads me to conclude that crime remains “a” or “the” deciding factor for many voters.

Record Fear Of Crime

The Rasmussen Reports group showed that 61% of their respondents believe that violent crime in America is getting worse. And polling by Gallup showed that violent crime is a concern among 80% of Americans, including 53% who worry a “great deal” and 27% who are concerned to a “fair” degree. The Rasmussen survey was released on April 8, 2022, the Gallup poll was made public on April 7.

National and local perceptions/fear about crime are at or near their peak levels for the past 25 years. Americans are more likely to perceive crime in the U.S. as having increased over the prior year than they have been at any point since 1993, Gallup.

So Who’s Telling The Truth About Crime?

I offered data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association stating that in 2022, cities have experienced a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults since 2019.

But progressives are insisting that crime hasn’t increased, it’s decreased, and that fear of crime is unrealistic and a political tactic.

Former Secretary of State Clinton went to campaign for incumbent Governor Hochul Thursday in New York City, where she claimed Republicans are trying to “scare” voters by discussing the rise in crime. “They don’t care about keeping you safe, they want to keep you scared,” she argued.

The Latest Full Year Of National Crime Data Is From 2021 

To suggest that crime numbers for 2021 (released in the fall of 2022) are massively complex (based on their methodologies and problems collecting data) would be an understatement. You could legitimately state that violent crime did not increase in 2021 based on numbers from the FBI and the National Crime Victimization Survey. Both are US Department of Justice agencies.

But it’s equally correct to state that, per the FBI, homicides increased considerably between 2020 and 2021 (nearly 30 percent in 2020 and 4.3 percent in 2021) and that criminologists have traditionally used murders as an indicator of all violent crime. Rapes also increased in 2021.

2021 US firearm homicides (81 percent of all murders) were the highest since the 1990s, Centers For Disease Control (CDC) data show. They recorded an 8.3 percent increase in 2021, CNN.

From 2020 to 2021, the violent victimization rate increased from 19.0 to 24.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons in urban areas while remaining unchanged in suburban or rural areas. The rate of serious (excluding common assaults) violent victimization in urban areas also increased, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey.

Per Gallup, there is a huge increase in the criminal victimization of urban households in 2021, 30 percent compared to 22 percent in 2020. Seven percent of urban residents were violently victimized compared to 3% of U.S. adults. The collective data (urban crime victimization-computer crime) indicates a growing crime problem for at least half of American households.

Per other reputable sources, there were increases in aggravated assaults, firearm assaults, and motor vehicle thefts.

Latest Crime Data-2022-Big Increases For Some Categories

From The Crime Report: The number of homicides and gun assaults began to fall in the first six months of 2022, but they still remain at a troubling high level, according to a cautious analysis released by the Council on Criminal Justice.

A study of about two dozen cities where overall crime data was available showed that the number of murders dropped by 2 percent between January and June of this year, compared to the same period in 2021. That amounted to a decrease of 54 homicides, researchers said.

They pointed out that aggravated assault numbers in the cities under review still rose by 4 percent, and robberies spiked by 19 percent.

At the same time, nearly all categories of nonviolent theft have increased: residential burglaries, up 6 percent; nonresidential burglaries, up 8 percent; larcenies, up by a striking 20 percent; and motor vehicle thefts, up 15 percent.

I already offered data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association as to midyear 2022 compared to 2019 regarding big increases in homicides and aggravated assaults.

Why The Confusion About Crime Data?-FBI

National data from the FBI (crimes reported to law enforcement) is based on a new system of collecting crime from local and state repositories. Only 52 percent of law enforcement agencies are participating. Major cities (i.e., New York-Los Angeles-Chicago-Baltimore-Oakland-San Francisco-Miami-Philadelphia-Tuson-Washington, D.C.-more) are not sending data or full years’ worth of data.

Why The Confusion About Crime Data?-National Crime Victimization Survey

I and others have concerns about COVID period data from the National Crime Victimization Survey; examples include:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (based on a national survey of all crimes) states that the violent victimization rate dropped by 22 percent in 2020, Criminal Victimization 2020This is the largest decrease in violence ever reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). It was released in October 2021.

Per 2020 FBI final statistics released in September 2021, the number of homicides increased nearly 30% from 2019, the largest single-year increase the agency has recorded since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s. Overall violent crime and aggravated assaults also increased. Historically, homicides have been used as an indicator of overall violence.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics figures for 2021 were almost ignored by mainstream media. There seem to be growing doubts about survey research, especially during COVID, a condition that BJS cited in its latest report. Nevertheless, as of this writing, I am unaware of researchers or methodologists suggesting that reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics are invalid or should be used with caution.


There are a wide array of progressives and some criminologists insisting that crime is down, not up, and compared to decades worth of data, we have never lived in safer times. They demean anyone expressing fear or concern over crime.

The uncertainty over national data makes their claims possible. Per the latest national data from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), crime is flat for 2021.

But, and it’s a big “but,” people who have been following crime data for decades are expressing doubts about the USDOJ numbers which is why our analysis is expanding into additional data such as the Centers For Disease Control, Gallup and additional data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association and other reputable sources. “All” show increases in violence and other forms of crime for 2021 and 2022.

From National Public Radio: “It’s turned our crime data into this sort of giant black hole I don’t think we’ll ever actually be able to undo,” according to John Pfaff, a law professor at Fordham University. “I think 2021 will always just be a giant gap in our narrative. Even when we have more complete data, the stories we tell about crime are filled with holes that misinformation can crawl into and take up residence.”

Pfaff addressed FBI data. There was no mention of the National Crime Victimization Survey by NPR.

There is no doubt that violence increased in urban areas and beyond. There are reputable sources (beyond those mentioned here) in 2021 and 2022 stating that violence and other forms of crime increased. See “Violent And Property Crime In The US” for sources.

As to fear of crime, we are at record levels. Yet there are sources who will tell you that Americans are just being silly as to their fear; the numbers don’t justify their observations. The only logical conclusion from progressives is that Americans are stupid.

What about the claim of record decreases in crime over decades? It’s true, but that ended in 2015 with a 28 percent increase in violent crime and serious violent crime per the Bureau of Justice statistics.

But suggesting that we are at historical lows for crime or stating that we have never lived in safer times is like telling a rape victim that their concern over their victimization isn’t justified; they should just be grateful for decreasing violence.

Progressive statements make many doubt their sanity and their ability to understand the plight of crime victims or residents of urban areas. Dismissing their realities is an uncharitable mistake. Many progressives were in favor of defunding law enforcement and cutting the prison population in half (i.e., candidate Biden).

As stated by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen,  most polls have shown that inflation, crime and immigration are leading concerns for Americans, top issues the GOP has carefully tailored its message around for the midterm elections.

Insensitivity to the concerns of Americans and a misrepresentation of the data is why progressives lost many of their races during the midterm elections.

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