Crime rate in the United States has been on a steady decline since a peak in the 1990s. However, more recently, violent crime has been rising, particularly since the start of the year. Violent crime includes homicides, robberies, assaults, shootings, and rape, and is at a higher rate this year as compared to the same point in time last year. However, law enforcement experts cannot pinpoint a single reason why, and claim that the increase is not enough to call it a trend.
“It’s being reported on at local levels, but in my view, it’s not getting the attention at the national level it deserves. I don’t know what the answer is, but holy cow, do we have a problem,” said FBI Director James Comey.
The cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Las Vegas reported a significant rise in homicide cases. In Chicago, which is notorious for violent crimes in the poorer parts of the city, six people were killed during the Memorial Day weekend while 56 others were wounded, all due to shooting. From the start of the year until the end of May, there were over 240 homicides recorded, which is over 50% the mark of the year before. In that same time frame, around 1,200 people were shot, which is about a third more than the 800 recorded in the same time frame last year. While some cities attribute the spike in violent crimes due to the drug menace, Chicago and Los Angeles blame street gangs for much of the violence riddling their communities.
Comey has speculated that local police officers might have become less aggressive, thanks in part to police-related violence that has captured the imagination of the national media. It can be remembered that in 2014, a black teenager was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, which set off a series of protests and was the subject of talk shows and news outlets nationwide. Since that incident, social media has been bombarded with videos of similar encounters, and according to Comey, that might have to do with police being less aggressive, lest they be the subject of the latest “viral video” that is sure to be talked about not only nationally, but globally.
Police officers have recently been target by people. Last July, a shooter named Micah Johnson ambushed and killed five policemen and injured nine others during a Black Lives Matter protest. A few days ago, three New York police officers were injured when they were attacked by a man wielding a meat cleaver.
Also a few days ago, in Phoenix, two officers were seriously hurt when a man in a vehicle deliberately tried to run them over in a parking lot. A third officer was able to arrest the driver, 44 year-old Marc Payne, when his car crashed into a convenience store right after the incident. The police officers were injured but are on their way to recovery, while Payne would need a Phoenix criminal attorney since he will be charged with three counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Yes, violent crimes are increasing in the United States. This has also been a topic of debate in the upcoming presidential election, with Republican candidate Donald Trump using it as a platform while criticizing the policies of President Barack Obama and his Democratic party-mate, Hillary Clinton. Trust has broken down between law enforcement and the local communities, particularly in some areas, but this must first be addressed in order to put a pause to the rise, and hopefully decrease it as time goes by.