Trump keeps talking about crime increasing — on his watch

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Trump had said in his inaugural address that the so-called American carnage would end in January 2017.

Donald Trump seems to be trying to replicate his 2016 campaign strategy of vowing to fight a mostly imaginary spike in violent crime. But any increases in crime he points to during the 2020 presidential campaign would have happened on his watch.

On Thursday evening, Trump shared a tweet posted by Angela Stanton King, a Republican running for the late Rep. John Lewis' House seat in Georgia. King, whom Trump recently pardoned for a 2004 federal conspiracy conviction, complained of an increase in the number of murders in Chicago.

"Chicago had a 139% increase in murders in July. 2020 --> 105. 2019 --> 44," King claimed. "Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and every single NBA player are silent. They don't care about black lives. They care about capitalizing on black lives!"

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Trump himself has made similar arguments in recent months, presenting America's large cities as violent wastelands where "anarchy" reigns.

"Chicago and New York City crime numbers are way up. 67 people shot in Chicago, 13 killed. Shootings up significantly in NYC where people are demanding that @NYGovCuomo & @NYCMayor act now," he tweeted on July 5.

In a speech last month, Trump announced a plan to send federal troops into some cities, promising that "Help is on its way" to "American communities plagued by violent crime."

Two days earlier he told reporters that he would "do something" about violence in cities: "New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We're not going to let this happen in our country."

The Trump campaign has even been running an ad showing images of recent urban unrest and claiming it as proof that "you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

But any violence that has been committed since 2017 has taken place in Donald Trump's America.

In his last campaign, candidate Trump promised he would make this problem go away.

"I will appoint prosecutors who will go into the most dangerous communities in American and work to liberate our citizens from violence and fear," he said in August 2016.

"The crime rate is through the roof. People can't walk down the street without getting shot. I'll stop that," he claimed that September.

And in his 2017 inaugural address, he announced the end of poverty and crime in inner cities. "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now," he vowed.

It does not appear that he believes he kept those promises.

Statistics actual show that most violent crime in the United States has declined steadily since the early 1990s.

According to a BBC fact check earlier this week, while violent crime is mostly down, there have been more murders this year in a few places, including Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Much of this, experts speculate, could be related to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Jurisdictions released many offenders in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in jails. And courts in many places have been closed. That has led to a feeling among offenders that they can commit crimes with impunity," the research and policy organization Police Executive Research Forum reported in June. "In addition, police in some cities are less proactive in their enforcement, in order to avoid interactions with the public that could spread the virus."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.