Frustrated Fact-Checker: Trump’s Crime Stats ‘Mostly Accurate’
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Seema Mehta, a Los Angeles Times correspondent covering fact-checkers during Donald Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention Thursday evening, had to report his crime statistics as “mostly accurate.”
Her complete headline at the Times blog was: “Donald Trump’s crime stats are mostly accurate but his conclusions are a stretch.” In other words, because his facts cannot be corrected and then mocked, his policies must be ridiculed instead.
In the opening to his address, after accepting his party’s nomination, Trump turned to the subjects of crime, and law and order:
I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.
Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.
In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.
The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.
While the statistics he used were largely accurate, his conclusion was overreaching, according to independent fact checkers.
While there have been sharp recent increases in homicide rates in certain parts of the country, overall murder rates are the lowest they have been in decades, according to factcheck.org. Additionally, a snapshot offered by looking at a couple years is insufficient to determine whether there is a new trend.
In terms of specific statistics, Trump was accurate when he talked about a 17% year-over-year increase in homicides in the nation’s 50 largest cities; and the murder rates in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago.
But he was inaccurate when he said that the number of police officer deaths has risen nearly 50% compared to the same period last year. While the number of police officers killed by guns has gone up that amount, the overall number of police officers killed in the line of duty is flat.
Note, in particular, Mahta’s last paragraph, in which she claims that Trump said “the number of police officer deaths has risen nearly 50%.” Now look again at what Trump said: “killed in the line of duty.”
She corrects him for a mistake he never made.
For media “fact-checkers,” Republicans are presumed to be wrong, or stupid — even when they are correct.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.