New NYPD statistics suggest the number of murders in the city could hit a record low this year. And outside of a few troubled cities like Chicago, homicide rates generally in the U.S. are near historic lows. But not according to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who in recent weeks has been spreading a lie about murders in America, in an effort to create the false perception of a crime wave. Our Bobby Cuza has more.
Donald Trump is right about this much:
"You won’t hear this from the media," Trump said at a rally. "You’ve been hearing it only from me, because they won’t tell you. The press never talks about it."
It is true: the media never reports what Trump has been telling supporters. That is because it is unequivocally untrue.
"Our murder rate is the highest it’s been in 45 years," Trump said. "Highest they’ve been in 45 years. It’s the worst, the highest it’s been in 45 years, 45 years. In 45 years. Nobody knows that."
That statistic, repeated at least 7 times since last Wednesday, is almost completely upside-down.
The U.S. murder rate is in fact near a 45-year low, less than half what it was at its peak.
At 4.9 murders per 100,000 people the 2015 rate was not far off the record-low 4.4 murder rate from the year before. Compare that to the peak of 10.2 reached in 1980.
"So it is just simply wrong," said head of the Citizens Crime Commission Richard Aborn.
Aborn, a policing and crime expert says Trump's claim is fiction.
"You’d have to go back to the early 90s to see the kind of numbers that Trump I think is talking about when the rate was much, much higher," Aborn said. "Yes, we are much, much safer in this country, and certainly in New York."
Trump’s false claim appears to have been born out of a completely different statistic: the 10.8 percent increase in murders last year from the record low of 2014 was the largest year-over-year spike in 45 years, which Trump did state correctly at the second debate before it morphed into the false claim he's continued making even after it was debunked by fact-checking sites, though on Tuesday, he again stated it correctly.
"Nationwide, murders have experienced their largest single-year increase in 45 years," Trump said.
Whether that was a deliberate correction or whether Trump will revert to his false claim we can only guess. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.