A new Gallup poll finds that 53 percent of Americans worry “a great deal” about crime and violence. This figure represents a 15-year high. Two years ago, only 39 percent worried a great deal about these problems. Last year, 43 percent did.
No wonder bipartisan legislation that would free thousands of federal criminals and reduce sentences for various drug crimes going forward has stalled.
Speaking of illegal drugs, the Gallup survey also found that concern about drug use has spiked. Two years ago, 34 percent of Americans worried a great deal about drug use. Last year, the figure was 38 percent. Now, 44 percent worry a great deal about the problem.
Crime and violence go hand and hand with drug use. Drug addicts steal to get the money with which to purchase illegal drugs; violence results from turf wars between dealers, among other things. Thus, it’s not surprising to see the rise in concern about crime and violence increasing at just about the same rate as concern about illegal drugs.
Although the concerns of all Americans matter, nowadays it seems fashionable in many quarters to believe that Black Worries Matter more. Thus, I hope it’s not amiss to point out that blacks worry more than whites about crime and drug use.
46 percent of whites worry a good deal about crime, compared to 68 percent of nonwhites. For drug use, the numbers are 41 percent of whites and 49 percent of nonwhites.
The reason for the disparities seems obvious. Crime, violence, and drugs afflict nonwhite communities more than white ones.
I should note, however, that when it comes to drug use, the level of concern among nonwhites has remained basically constant in the past few years. For whites, by contrast, the level of concern has soared from 27 percent to 41 percent in the past two years.
Again, this is consistent with what we’ve been reading. The heroin epidemic is roiling white and rural America.
The desire of President Obama, liberals generally, and some conservatives to release convicted drug dealers from jail and be more lenient towards drug dealers going forward seems particularly misguided under the present circumstances.