Last week, The Federalist reported on early signs of a coming violent crime wave in Atlanta, Georgia. “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” a resident stated following a murder near his home. It’s becoming clear now how predictive his statement was.
On Monday evening, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Atlanta. A thousand National Guardsmen were deployed to quell surging violent crime across the state’s capital. The events followed the death of an eight-year-old girl in just one of 75 separate shootings across the city over the last few weeks.
“You can’t blame this on a police officer; you can’t say this is about criminal justice reform,” the city’s Democrat mayor said Sunday night. “This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby. We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force.”
She, like many other Democratic city leaders across the country, had in the past weeks criticized the city’s law enforcement and stated her support for “reallocating” police spending.
Happening Across the Country
Since June, shootings and murders have surged across many of the country’s major cities. Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and New Orleans have all seen murders jump over 20 percent this year. The violence is heavily concentrated in the last few months, ever since protests have led to nationwide pressure on politicians to “defund” and “reimagine” policing.
Just as concerning is that these stats do not include data from the end of June and July. Data from New York and Chicago, recent data from which we do have, tells that the last few weeks have seen by far the worst of the violence. Murders and shootings in the Windy City are up about 80 percent, and New York has averaged at a 209 percent over these last weeks compared to the same times last year. It’s likely these disturbing numbers for the cities above only captures a fragment of the lives lost during unrest in which many protesters chant “Black Lives Matter.”
It’s also worth noting that Atlanta appeared to lack this crime spike just a few weeks ago, according to the statistics released above. If it serves as a bellwether, then the cities that already had a surge at the time of recording are in deep water. The scale will likely become apparent over the next few weeks.
Every one of the cities above has both a Democrat mayor and Democrat-controlled city council.
Hard Questions for Democrats
The surge in violence has drawn attention from Republican leaders. “Violence and death, which are disproportionately harming young African Americans, are tragic and unacceptable, particularly on such a shocking scale,” the White House recently stated in a letter addressed to Chicago leadership. “You continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens. The people of Chicago deserve better.”
Republican-led cities, such as Jacksonville and San Diego, have not had equivalent surges, according to the data above. As awareness spreads of the scale of the problem, it’s unlikely these criticisms will disappear. In a critical election year, this could pose a problem for Democrats making a case for left-wing policing and other policies.
The surge also raises questions about the role of existing reforms in causing the violence. Of the eight cities with the worst surges listed above, Minneapolis‘s leadership has pledged to abolish the city’s police department, while Philadelphia and New York have already cut money from law enforcement under pressure from activists. All have voiced criticism of police departments. While police chiefs in both Chicago and New York have begged city leaders to grant them greater latitude to deal with the surge, city leaders have instead taken the politically expedient route of keeping policing limited.
Combined with a public willing to attack officers making arrests, it’ll surprise few to learn that record numbers of police are abandoning their line of work, straining cut resources even further. Having more officers on the street is widely recognized to reduce crime of all stripes, and the inverse is true as well. With blue cities’ law enforcement spread thin, restrained, and lambasted by soundbite attacks, it will be difficult for politicians to dispute the link between their policies and results on the streets.
No major Democrat politician has yet come forward to address the connection.