So Much for that 'Nationwide Crime Wave'

The evidence grows even less convincing.


Sure. Blame the women. Sexists.
Allied Artists

Last month, the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined "The New Nationwide Crime Wave," which blamed an alleged spike in violence on the recent "intense agitation against American police departments." Critics quickly pointed out that the evidence of such a crime surge is scarce, and that Mac Donald's narrative could only be sustained by cherry-picking certain cities and, within those cities, certain crimes. Now she has responded to her critics by…

Well, read her new article for yourself. She has conceded that there is no "nationwide" leap in crime. Now she's saying that if we're on the verge of a surge, this is what the beginning would look like. She softpedals just how strong the evidence is against her original argument—she acknowledges that crime "is still much lower than it was 20 years ago," for example, but not that in most large cities it is also lower than it was just one year ago—but it's really hard to read her piece as a spirited defense of her position. Instead she's been reduced to making arguments like this:

The claim that we are living through an epidemic of racist police killings rests on slimmer statistical evidence than the recent crime increases do.

Well, yes: Since it's pretty much impossible to get good statistics on police killings, racist or otherwise, there really isn't strong support for the idea that they're increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. So that's kind of a low bar to clear. At any rate, I don't think I know anyone whose interest in rolling back police abuses is based on the idea that they're getting more common; I think it's widely understood that ubiquitous phone cameras have simply made it easier to bring abusive policing to light.

"If anti-cop vituperation tapers off in the coming months and police start to feel supported in their work, the recent crime increases may also taper off," Mac Donald concludes. "If the media-saturated agitation continues, however, the new normal may be less policing and more crime." And if we see some crimes rising in some places while most crimes go down in most places? Then I guess we should keep our eyes out for another misleading op-ed.

Bonus link: The New York Daily News reports, "At their current rate, killings in New York City would end 2015 as either the third or fourth lowest year in the city's modern history."

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on the Blatant Hypocrisy of Campaign-Finance Regulations

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  1. It’s all lead plumbing.

    1. +1 Lead paint chip.

    2. There is compelling evidence that leaded gasoline was a major contributor to crime.

      1. The problem I’ve always had with the lead theory is that it doesn’t explain why the effect was so profound in the United States relative to Europe. America had a FAR larger explosion in crime during the period of lead gasoline and lead paint usage than Europe did, so if the issue was primarily leaded paint and gasoline, why was the impact so different based on what country you were in? Why were Canadians not killing each other in the same numbers as Americans if the primary determinant was lead poisoning, given that America and Canada started allowing and then banned lead gasoline at almost the exact same times?

        1. Also, there’s another serious problem with the lead theory. Here’s American crime rates from 1900-2001. Notice how crime rates start increasing drastically in the early 1900s before peaking during prohibition? They then decline substantially until the mid-60’s.

          Problem: Lead gasoline was introduced in the 1920’s and most arguments about lead gasoline claim there’s a 20 year time lag between lead gas usage and increases in crime. If that’s the case, then why did American crime fall in the 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s, which would have been 20-40 years after gasoline was introduced?

          1. Maybe the first spike in crime was something else? I don’t know.

            For the lag, I am making an educated guess and going with environmental accumulation, and the amplification effect of lead-tarded parents raising lead-tarded children. Speculation but it makes sense.

          2. Remember that trolleys were used in a lot of the bigger cities and towns until the 40s.
            Extremely high densities of cars probably didn’t really appear until the 50s.

            This would to a certain extent limit the exposure. After cars really took off in the 50s though the lead infested boomers would be in their early 20s by the late 60s early 70s.

            The spike up around 1905 was probably labor related, and perhaps better tracking.

          3. I was upset when RealLead fuel additive was taken off the market.

        2. That’s odd. The research I’m talking about claims that Canada and Germany have similar findings. The magnitudes might be different but the curves match.


          Yes I know it’s MJ but whatever. Further, the correlation holds up when broken down by state.

        3. Europeans are more civilized and enlightened than us. If that isn’t already obvious…

        4. Canadians are spread a bit thin. Not as true today, but certainly more true if you look back 30 to 70 years.

          Europe, the masters made sure through artificial price increases that compared to the US, few of the masses would utilize automobiles.

  2. It feels like there’s more crime, so it must be true!

    1. Crime is up in blue enclaves (or was that less down?)

  3. In order to prevent a new crime wave, we have to arrest people for crimes they might commit.

    1. I like the cut of your jib.

        1. A freshly circumcised man-tackle.

        2. I thought you were rich? You don’t know the sails of your yacht? I’m starting to doubt you even have a money vault.

          1. More like Scrooge McSuck, am I right?

            1. *high fives CJ, does line of blow*

          2. Why would he need to know the names of the sails? He doesn’t drive his yacht. The orphans on his crew must know the names of the sails.

            1. Outing yourself too I see. You get driven around in a Rolls Royce. You buy a yacht to talk about sailing with friends from the vineyard and to drink cocktails on the deck. Honestly, do you even have a walkin humidor?

              1. Humidor? What do you need one of those for? Don’t you just have an orphan hand roll you a cigar when you want one?

                1. Check and mate.
                  *offers gentlemen’s handshake*

                2. You smoke cigars?

                  Clearly, you haven’t experienced smoking pure, silk-rolled orphan: the flavor, the evenness of the burn, the way it starts out mild, but gets stronger as it burns, through the different mixtures of pure orphan.

                  It’s like I’m surrounded by hillbillies.

        3. It’s a slang word for foreskin, a popular deep-dish “pizza” topping. Almost as popular as thinly-sliced afterbirth.

    2. This is quite easy considering that most everything has been criminalized. The average U.S. citizen commits around three felonies a day: http://www.threefeloniesaday.c…..fault.aspx

      1. Well, I probably commit seven to ten. That’s when I’m behaving myself.

    3. Isn’t that the point of the war on drug users? Drug users, by virtue of the fact that they seek artificial highs, are immoral, and thus prone to committing crimes. Locking them up for nonviolent drug offenses saves society from the violent crimes that they will inevitably commit. Or something.

      1. Legality equals morality. Illegality equals immorality.

        Back in my day, they taught the difference between morality and ethics in college. *waves cane*

      2. Something like staying home and getting a good buzz.

  4. Great poster photo and kudos on the alt text.

    The only solution is to bring back stop and frisk while hiring an additional 2-5 thousand police officers. We need more criminals off the streets and in Rikers. Also, New York should do something about the amount of guns in their city. Maybe they should ban guns?

    1. And sassy talk. That never ends well.

      1. First they put their foot on a subway seat. Then they are sassy. Then they kill. This is why we need broken windows.

        1. “They” don’t kill but tolerance of low-level crime invites higher-level crime. Broken Windows works. Too bad it was mutated into a money-raising racket for cops.

          1. Well, uh, here’s an idea, perhaps we could stop criminalizing things that shouldn’t be illegal, huh? Naw, that’d never work…

            1. They are not mutually exclusive. NYC’s problems in the bad old days cannot be laid primarily at the feet of the WoD.

              1. Its one thing to run off the three card monte hustlers and assorted pickpockets. That probably dies lower other crime. After that I’m unsure. Although it was nice to only have one polite beggar on the ride from Times Square to Yankee Stadium come through, make a short speech, and move on without assaulting anyone. It was a nice change from the 80s.

              2. Wrong and stupid.

    2. Didn’t you see the post this morning? The solution to both criminality and police violence is to hassle legal gun owners.

  5. More criminals on Rikers Island? Didn’t we have a major crime figure on Roosevelt Island last week?

    1. Yeah, but the Rikers Island guy is dead.

  6. That’s a shame, I was hoping she would use the movie Reefer Madness to support her next argument.

    1. I think the third guy in that poster is actually Epi.

  7. Rachel Dolezal Resigns As NAACP Leader Amid Racial Identity Controversy…..l-dolezal/

    “She took me aside and just told me not to blow her cover,” said Ezra Dolezal, Rachel’s African-American adopted brother. “She’s like trying to say people were racist to her her entire life, even though she grew up a white, privileged person up in Montana.”

    1. Bitches be crazy, yo.

      1. I hear they be shoppin too.

    2. I’m sad to see her go. That’s the kind of crazy I respect. A lifetime of black face and I assume hours of hair care, to pass herself off as another race.

      1. Oh, and don’t forget to mention that Crusty Juggler would. Hell, for that matter, I would, too. She was purty ask done up that way.

      2. Once you go black, you can never go back.

    3. A lovely bit of trolling. Pity she did it without a scrap of self-awareness or irony. Could have kickstarted an excellent national conversation about all that frantic pigeonholing (with associated benefits) we do.

    4. There were some hilarious memes about her over the weekend, I loved the one with the profile pic and the caption “Orange Is The New Black”…

      1. The photograph of her holding a book, the title of which was “How To Be Black,” was the winner, IMO.…..l-dolezal/

        1. “People of rhythm”


      2. That’s awesome

    5. she grew up a white, privileged person up in Montana

      Being white in Montana bestows privileges?

    6. “she grew up a white, privileged person up in Montana”

      Which is greater in magnitude: the privilege associated with being white, or the dis-privilege of being from Montana?

      Love all the privilege rhetoric. Whereas prior to 2009 or so we were all supposed to be ashamed for institutional racism, now we’re supposed to be ashamed for not being the victims of institutional racism. Presumably the next step in the privilege barrage is shaming non-rape victims for their privilege.

  8. Heather MacDonald can only *aspire* to be a useless drooling imbecile.

    1. Just to keep it puerile, I would.

      1. Just make that your handle already, or maybe that will be mine…”Crusty Juggler Would”

  9. “If the media-saturated agitation continues, however, the new normal may be less policing and more crime.”

    She explicitly states the cops will stage orchestrated work slowdowns to show what a bunch of worthless petulant chickenshit cocksuckers they are, but she continues to happily guzzle their splooge (and bullshit).

  10. If anti-cop vituperation tapers off in the coming months and police start to feel supported in their work, the recent crime increases may also taper off

    A few thoughts:

    Remember, you can substitute “may or may not” for “may” in any sentence, and not change the meaning.

    Is she including crimes committed by the police in her prediction?

    For cripes sake, we now need our steely-eyed Heroes in Blue to “feel supported in their work”, or they’ll just sulk in the corner? Which is it? Cops need a safe space in which to work, free of micro-aggressions, or cops are the thin blue line between civilization and the barbarians? Because I’m pretty sure it can’t be both.

    1. you can substitute “may or may not” for “may” in any sentence, and not change the meaning.

      I think that “may or may not” implies a slightly higher probability than “may”, but yes, logically, in a binary modality, that is true.

      1. Sorry, lower probability.

  11. “If anti-cop vituperation tapers off in the coming months and police start to feel supported in their work, the recent crime increases may also taper off,” Mac Donald concludes. “If the media-saturated agitation continues, however, the new normal may be less policing and more crime.”

    Does this person knows I suffer from migraines and that derp and the site of woodchippers can trigger one?

  12. know

  13. At their current rate, killings in New York City would end 2015 as either the third or fourth lowest year in the city’s modern history.

    Does that statistic include civilians killed by stray NYPD bullets?

  14. The use of cell phone have turned the tables on the cops,in many instances. Every week videos of ,shall we say,brutal police conduct is on the internet.There are even some lamenting the fact that cops have to worry about being recorded when in public..There’s a new guy on FOX,don’t know his name,guess he’s a former military ‘hero’ that thinks these people should be arrested for interfering by videoing cops.He’s also all in on thousands of troops in Iraq and bombing Iran.I love seeing him Hannity and O’reilly whine.But MSNBC seems to wants to wage war on the free market,Only a army of wood chippers can save us.

    1. Video truth is a terrible thing if you’re a perjurist.

  15. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  16. Cas-sa-VET-es

    Now I’ll never get any work done.

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