The Alan Nathan Show

The Alan Nathan Show

Georgia news, in the news, current events, Georgia happenings, GA happenings

The Alan Nathan Show

The Alan Nathan Show

Covid Becomes an Excuse for Crime: The focus on comparing 2019 and 2022 rates obscures how bad policy has worsened violence.

Georgia news, in the news, current events, Georgia happenings, GA happenings

Covid Becomes an Excuse for Crime: The focus on comparing 2019 and 2022 rates obscures how bad policy has worsened violence.

Digging Deeper into FBI’s Crime Statistics: The Role of Public Safety Policies

In a recent opinion editorial featured in The Wall Street Journal, by our own Josh Crawford, he highlights an important aspect of the FBI’s Crime in the Nation Statistics: while the headlines may suggest a decline in violent crime in the United States, a closer look reveals a more complex and troubling reality. The article discusses how the media’s focus on the COVID-19 pandemic tends to obscure the role of public safety policies in shaping crime rates, and how certain cities with permissive attitudes toward criminals and hostile ones toward police have seen an alarming increase in crime. This blog post delves deeper into these insights and emphasizes the role of policy decisions at the state and local levels in shaping crime trends.

Many media outlets have highlighted the decline in national violent crime rates, pointing to a 1.3% drop in 2022, bringing the rate on par with that of 2019. 

The story from many outlets is that violent crime is no longer an issue—it surged with the onset of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and has since declined. Violent crime nationally fell 1.3% in 2022, putting the year’s rate on a similar footing as 2019’s. But a glance at the top-line FBI numbers indicates that more is going on. Murders decreased 6% compared with 2021, and aggravated assault decreased 1.5%. But carjackings rose more than 8%, and robberies increased 1.3%.”

Despite the apparent return to pre-pandemic levels, the country remains well above normal violent crime rates, with total violent crime in 2022 being 5% higher than in 2014, and the national homicide rate being 43% higher.

What explains these significant differences in crime rates among cities? Josh argues that the key factor is public safety policy. In cities like Washington, Seattle, and San Francisco, permissive attitudes toward criminals and a lack of support for law enforcement have created an environment conducive to crime. Washington, for instance, significantly defunded the police twice in recent years and attempted to reduce penalties for carjackings in 2022, even as auto-theft rates were rising. In contrast, Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami treat crime as a serious problem and have taken measures to address it. Atlanta has led a robust anti-gang effort, Dallas has implemented targeted policing in crime hot spots, and Miami has remained committed to law enforcement.

The increase in violent crime observed post-2014 and post-2019 is not easily attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic but rather to a series of detrimental policies that gained traction in 2020. These policies –  included efforts to defund the police, reduce penalties for violent crimes, and legalize hard drugs – have contributed to the surge in crime in various cities, obscuring the responsibility of the self-styled progressive politicians who pushed for them.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors driving crime in the United States, it is essential to look beyond pandemic-related explanations. COVID-19 is not the sole driver of the diverging crime trends observed in progressive enclaves and cities where law and order are being restored. Instead, the primary culprits are the policy decisions made at the state and local levels. Recognizing the impact of public safety policies is crucial for addressing the root causes of crime and working toward safer communities.

To learn more and read the full opinion editorial in the Wall Street Journal, click here.

The Alan Nathan Show

The Shelley Wynter Show Special guest Josh Crawford

Georgia news, in the news, current events, Georgia happenings, GA happenings

The Shelley Wynter Show Special guest Josh Crawford

Listen to the Shelley Wynter Show, September 18, 2023, for a thought-provoking and crucial discussion on the pressing issue of rising crime in our cities, public safety, and effective public policy solutions. We are thrilled to have our own Josh Crawford as a special guest, bringing his expertise and insights to the forefront. Josh Crawford is a renowned expert in criminal justice and public policy, and his expertise will shed light on the strategies we need to implement to address these critical concerns.

*Josh’s interview begins at 19:03. 

California’s Skyrocketing Crime: How It Happened and What to Do About It

California’s Skyrocketing Crime: How It Happened and What to Do About It

Best practices for reducing crime can empower California to build safer communities through policy.

California’s Skyrocketing Crime: How It Happened and What to Do About It

Key Points

  • There has been a concerning increase in violent crime and homicide rates in California.
  • Cities like San Francisco and Oakland have been adversely affected by rising crime, leading to economic challenges, a decline in safety perception, and demands for action from various community groups.
  • Over the years policies and decisions at both the state and local levels are believed to have contributed to the rise in crime. These include changes in sentencing laws, budget reallocations, and the election of progressive district attorneys. However, there is still great potential for political repercussions and the need for innovative solutions to address crime.

A recent headline from the satirical news website The Babylon Bee read “California Achieves World’s First Crime Rate Of Zero After Legalizing All Crime.” That piece reads in part:

“This is a great moment for our state,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “No other state in the nation’s history has successfully brought the crime rate down to nothing. California is once again leading the way! Now, please, for the safety of your loved ones, don’t venture out of your homes at night. Or at least carry an air horn. Whatever. I don’t care.”

Analysts point to the state’s legalization of all criminal acts as the catalyst for reaching a zero crime rate. “It was a bold but revolutionary move,” said Professor Kyle Ray of the California Crime Institute. “California has effectively eliminated all crime from existence simply by making every unlawful or despicable act completely acceptable. Murder, assault, robbery — these are yesterday’s terms. Californians are now truly free to express themselves however they choose. Zero crime!”

Unfortunately, sometimes life comes a little too close to imitating art. In California’s case, de-carceration, de-prosecution, and de-policing has led to a toxic mix that has eroded public safety in the Golden State.

While crime began to crest in many states in 2022, the 2022 Crime in California report shows:

  • State-wide violent crime was up 6.1% compared to 2021.
  • Property crime was up 6.2% over the same time period.
  • The homicide rate increased 23.9% in the five years since 2017. 
  • By contrast, the rates for overall arrests and homicide arrests declined in 2022.


San Francisco and Oakland: California Beacons of Opportunity Turned Cautionary Tales 

Two Bay-area cities—San Francisco and Oakland—exemplify California’s public safety decline.

In San Francisco, a destination once regarded as the booming tech hub of the world, rising violent crime, homelessness, and open-air drug markets have led to massive exits from businesses large and small. In fact, the number of fleeing businesses is so large that several media and advocacy groups have developed databases of all the companies leaving. 

This trend has severely damaged the city’s reputation. A recent Gallup poll found that only 52% of Americans thought San Francisco was safe—down from 70% in 2006. It has also opened San Francisco up to the negative impact that crime has on economic opportunity. As multiple studies have found, violent crime robs communities of job growth and economic mobility—an outcome that tends to hurt disadvantaged communities and low-income residents the most. 

Across the Golden Gate Bridge in Oakland, CA, residents have become so tired of unabated violent crime that the local NAACP chapter joined Black religious leaders in calling on city leadership to declare a “state of emergency” over the impact of surging violence on minority communities. They specifically called out “failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police,” as well as the failure to “prosecute people who murder and commit life threatening serious crimes.” 

Bad ideas in Oakland have contributed to a cycle of violence that has trapped low-income residents in places they feel unsafe. The NAACP chapter there is demanding accountability, both of the offenders and of the politicians who placate them. In the first six months of 2023, crime is up 26% overall in Oakland,  according to the Oakland Police Department.


How Did California Get Into This Crime Crisis?

How did California get here? A brew of bad policies at the state and local levels over the last decade appears to have finally come to a head. 

  • Beginning in 2011, in response to a lawsuit about prison crowding, the California legislature passed AB 109, “Public Safety Realignment,” which made most property and drug offenses ineligible for state prison sentences and eliminated state parole supervision in most instances in favor of less intensive county options.


  •  Then, in 2014, voters approved Proposition 47,  “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act,” which made all types of theft under $950 and some drug crimes misdemeanors.


  • In 2016, voters approved Proposition 57, “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016” which created a system of earned early release that applied to many inmates, including those convicted of rape, gang, and gun crimes.


  • Finally, in 2020, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons, Governor Newsom released more than 10,000 inmates back onto the street, many of whom had violent and serious convictions.

At the local level, both San Francisco and Oakland reduced or repurposed portions of their police department budgets amid calls to “defund” the police. In 2020, San Francisco diverted $120 million from the police department and sheriff’s office budgets over the next two years. In Oakland, the city council repurposed $17 million away from the police department in favor of doubling the budget of a civilian crime prevention entity.

And then there are the elected District Attorneys. In San Francisco, progressive defense attorney Chesa Boudin was elected in 2020, along with a wave of other progressive prosecutors around the country with large financial backing. In addition to not prosecuting a host of lower-level crimes, Boudin quickly announced he would not pursue enhanced penalties for gang members. Crime rose dramatically, and Boudin was recalled in 2022.

Shortly after the Boudin recall, Oakland elected district attorney Pamela Price, who promised to discontinue use of those same enhanced penalties and favor probation over incarceration. She is currently facing the potential of her own recall effort.



The tragic story of Christian Gwynn who was fatally shot as a result of violence is a wake-up call to the need for change in policies that will reduce urban violence.


Rising Crime Doesn’t Have to be the New Norm in California—or Anywhere Else

Now there is mounting fear of even greater political blowback. But political implications aside, it doesn’t have to be this way.

We recently published our first analysis of a city and state’s public safety infrastructure. While this initial report looks at Atlanta, GA, the implications extend to cities and states across the country. Blue and red cities in blue and red states have been innovating and implementing best practices to reduce crime and violence, and these steps are helping several communities restore safety, hope, and opportunity. 

For more on how cities and states can get back on the right track, check out the report and recommendations here.

About The Author

Josh Crawford

Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives

Josh Crawford is a native of Massachusetts. He went to Penn State for his undergraduate degree and then finished law school in Boston. After a brief stint in Sacramento, California, working in the county district attorney’s office, Josh moved to Kentucky to help start the Pegasus Institute, a nonpartisan organization designed to promote opportunity. In addition to serving as executive director of the organization, Josh had a special focus on criminal justice policy.

“By focusing on public safety and order, we can restore hope and opportunity to rural communities.”