Is It 1968 Again? Crime Rising “Unexpectedly”

The Wall Street Journal’s political correspondent Gerald Seib writes today that this presidential campaign cycle resembles 1968, with Trump filling the George Wallace role and Bernie Sanders the Gene McCarthy role. Maybe, but one parallel he left out is the crime rate, which was a central issue in 1968, and which may well be by election day next year.

Have you noticed that crime is “unexpectedly” rising fast after two decades of significant decline? Is it a coincidence that crime rates are rising especially where local police have come under the most criticism, such as Baltimore?

The New York Times has even noticed:

Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities

MILWAUKEE — Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year — after 86 homicides in all of 2014.

More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago. In New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier. In Baltimore, homicides had hit 215, up from 138 at the same point in 2014. In Washington, the toll was 105, compared with 73 people a year ago. And in St. Louis, 136 people had been killed this year, a 60 percent rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year.

Law enforcement experts say disparate factors are at play in different cities, though no one is claiming to know for sure why murder rates are climbing. Some officials say intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals, though many experts dispute that theory.

Baltimore has had 45 murders in 31 days. The shooting of a sheriff’s officer in Texas has received a lot of coverage the last few days, but Chicago witnessed a police shooting over the weekend, with the suspect(s) still at large.

Pretty soon someone is going to start dusting off old Richard Nixon campaign speeches.