By Matt Lamb
As crime abounds in major cities and voters continue to cite violence as a top concern, liberals may have a new strategy: deny it exists.
Democratic St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones tried this recently after the personal finance website WalletHub declared her city the most dangerous in the United States.
“We know the region as a whole is very safe,” Jones said. She also told the media, “I don’t get my news from a place that does credit bureau reporting.”
“WalletHub doesn’t live here, and isn’t here, but if they take random statistics from random newspapers, then of course,” Jones said. “You’re only looking at a population of 300,000 people, so those rates are going to seem like it’s violent.”
But WalletHub did not “take random statistics from random newspapers.” Instead, it relied on data from the FBI, the Census Bureau, and Pew Charitable Trust, among other sources.
While WalletHub used some questionable data points, such as “Percentage of Residents Who Are Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19,” most of the inputs under “Home and Community Safety” revolved around violent crimes and road safety.
The study also concluded that the city of Boise, Idaho, is much safer than Baltimore, Maryland. But do not try to convince David Simon, creator of the Baltimore crime show The Wire.
“I have as good a chance of being murdered in Boise or Omaha as in Baltimore,” Simon claimed on Twitter.
Even with a hyperspecific claim like that, the stats do not work out according to available data.
That works out to a murder rate of 1 per 23,000 white residents. There’s no similar tracker for Boise, but in 2021, there were only two murders recorded in the city, and neither of the victims was one of the approximately 400,000 white residents.
St. Louis’s Jones tried to undermine the credibility of the study and ignored the sources of data. Simon picked narrow stats and still failed to get it right.
But there’s still one more tactic that liberals can always be counted on to use: call opponents racist for bringing up crime.
“I think it’s really just coded language, and it’s not uncommon,” University of Florida political scientist Sharon Wright told U.S. News & World Report when asked about Republicans running on an anti-crime platform. Wright, according to the U.S. News paraphrase, said the anti-crime messaging is “about race and tapping suburbanites’ fears about black criminals coming into their communities, even if that fear is unfounded.”
But voters, even reliable Democratic voters, may not be swayed by the smoke and mirrors of liberal politicians and commentators. As even the U.S. News article noted, 82% of black people “said crime was a ‘very important’ issue to them.”