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Despite crime declining overall across the United States, violent crime (which involves force or threat of force) has increased within the past two years, according to a report released by the Police Executive Research Forum.
“There are pockets of crime in this country that are astounding,” said the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. “It’s gone under the radar screen, but it’s not if you’re living on the north side of Minneapolis or the south side of Los Angeles or in Dorchester, Mass” (AP).
In Richmond, California (north of San Francisco), homicides have risen 20% and gun assaults 65% from 2004 to 2006. The city’s police chief said, “There’s a mentality among some people that they’re living some really violent video game. What’s disturbing is that you see that the blood’s real, the death’s real” (ibid.).
The report surveyed 56 sheriffs’ departments in cities ranging in size from Appleton, Wisconsin, to Chicago, Illinois. Taking all of the surveyed cities into account, in the past two years, the number of homicides has increased 10%, robberies 12%, and aggravated assaults involving guns 10%.
Of the cities surveyed, 71% reported an increase in homicides, 80% in robberies, and 67% in aggravated assaults with guns.
Cities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Hartford and Memphis have seen homicides increase by 20% or more. In Detroit and Milwaukee, among others, robberies have increased by more than 30%. Boston, Sacramento, St. Louis and Rochester have seen aggravated assaults with guns rise at least 30%.
According to police chiefs, the rise in aggravated assaults with guns is most alarming. This type of violent crime is considered a more accurate gauge of violence than homicides, since poor marksmanship or prompt medical care can prevent an aggravated assault with a gun from becoming a homicide.
A number of factors are being blamed for this increase: gangs, poverty, a record number of inmates being released from prison, and the rapid spread of methamphetamine use in Midwestern and Western U.S. cities. (You may wish to read our article exposing the pervasiveness of the crystal methamphetamine problem, titled “Chemical Warfare – Millions of Lives Destroyed by Crystal ‘Meth.’”)
But perhaps the biggest contributor to the increase is relatively easy access to firearms—and eagerness to use them in settling disagreements. The types of arguments that would have led to fistfights decades ago are now leading to gunfights, with deadly results.
The mayor of Rochester said, “There’s a direct correlation between the kids who drop out of our high schools who get involved in selling drugs and who end up in homicides” (AP). Of all New York cities, Rochester has the highest high school dropout rate (50%) and the highest child poverty rate (40% of children under the age of 18).
No doubt, gangs, rampant poverty, the release of prisoners, and drug use are partly to blame for this recent rise in violent crime.
But is there more? Is there an underlying cause—undetected and unknown to most?
To learn the answer, read the REAL TRUTH article “And the Earth Was Filled With Violence.”