Crime and Policing
April 19, 2018
Will President Trump's policies reduce crime?

After rising for two years in a row, violent crime in the nation’s 30 largest cities was down 1.1 percent in 2017, and the murder rate fell 5.6 percent, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan policy institute at New York University’s School of Law. The FBI will not release official 2017 statistics until next fall, but criminologists note that today’s violent and property crime rates are down 50 percent from 1991, which they attribute to improved policing and better use of technology. However, the Trump administration says the nation is experiencing a crime wave, citing upsurges in gang and drug-related crimes in certain areas. The administration has begun rolling back several Obama-era criminal justice reforms, but dozens of state and local governments are proceeding with some of them, such as shortening sentences and reducing fines and court fees.

A sign in a Baltimore neighborhood with a high murder rate
            appeals for an end to violence on Feb. 3, 2018, during the city’s third
            “Ceasefire Weekend.” (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)   A sign in a Baltimore neighborhood with a high murder rate appeals for an end to violence on Feb. 3, 2018, during the city’s third “Ceasefire Weekend.” (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, smiled and applauded as a Sacramento jury in March sentenced him to death for murdering two California sheriffs’ deputies during a daylong crime spree in 2014. Earlier in his trial, Bracamontes had cursed law-enforcement officials and repeatedly proclaimed that he wished he had killed more police. 1

On Long Island, N.Y., three Latino MS-13 gang members smiled, laughed and joked during a December court hearing on charges of killing two teenage girls with baseball bats and machetes. 2

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