At the Republican national convention a few months ago, candidates and speakers said that during the term of President Barack Obama, crime has risen. Colorado senatorial candidate Darryl Glenn said that neighborhoods have become more violent during the term of Obama. Another speaker noted that over half of all Americans greatly worry about crime and violence nowadays, and that the sense of safety and security is no longer there.
Obama meanwhile, has taken the opposite stance. He said that there have been huge drops in murder rates and illegal immigration, among others.
The question now is, are these Republican speakers saying factual things or are they exaggerating, since Obama is of their rival party, the Democrats? Who is telling the truth, Obama or the Republicans? Let us take a look at some facts and see whether Obama’s record on crime is better since the last Republican president (George W. Bush), or if it is actually worse, as the Republican Party claims.
Violent crime rate
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), violent crime refers to murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
In the year 2008, which was Bush’s final year of the presidency and Obama’s first, the violent crime rate was 458.6 (per 100,000 inhabitants). In the years following that, violent crime rate actually decreased for three straight years, up until 2011, where the violent crime rate was down to 387.1, which was a significant decrease. In 2012, that rate went up to 387.8, which is a marginal increase. The years 2013 and 2014 saw significant decreases from the 2012 rate, with violent crime rates of 369.1 and 365.5, respectively. In terms of percentages, the 2014 rate decreased by 1 percent as compared to the previous year.
In contrast, during President Bush’s term from 2000 to 2008, there were two years which had more notable increases in violent crime rate, which was in 2005 (469.0, up from 463.2 the previous year) and 2006 (479.3).
Property crime rate
In the same data sourced from the FBI, property crimes showed a steady decrease when Obama’s term started up until 2014 (the last full year with data available to the public). In his first year, the property crime rate was 3,214.6, while in 2014, it went down greatly to 2,596.1, which is a marked improvement.
In 2008, during the beginning of Obama’s first term, an estimated 9,774,152 property crimes were recorded. 8,277,829 estimated property crimes happened during 2014, down from the 8,651,892 estimate that occurred the year previous to that. This data shows how big the decrease in property crimes were during Obama’s watch.
The best way to gauge illegal immigration is thru the US Border Patrol and the number of arrests they made. In the year 2000, during Bush’s first term, over 1.6 million were apprehended at the border crossings. In 2015, Obama’s second-to-the-last year, 337,117 arrests were recorded, which is the lowest it has been since the early 1970s.
Based on the data presented above, we can conclude that President Obama has actually had a good record on crime, especially in his first term and earlier part of the second. However, 2016 data shows that violent crime, especially murder, is starting to pick up once again. A homicide attorney said that the FBI has data which says that the violent crime rate is actually up by over 1 percent, as opposed to the previous year.
Perhaps this is what Republicans have been referring to. Coupled with tragic shootings publicized such as the Dallas and Chicago shootings, the Republicans have been putting the blame on Obama and his stand on gun laws.
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