The question we should be asking about violent crime in American cities

吉尔·菲利波维奇(Jill Filipovic)是纽约的一名记者,也是该书的作者 “OK潮, 聊一聊: 我这一代人如何落伍.” 跟着她 推特. 本评论中表达的观点仅是她自己的观点. 查看更多 意见文章 在CNN上.

In big cities across the United States, fears about crime have citizens up in arms. They’ve been an animating force in recent mayoral elections.

在纽约, where new mayor Eric Adams ran on a platform of public safety, the recent subway killing of Michelle Alyssa Go has further galvanized the city and stoked many New Yorkersdeepest anxieties. 在洛杉矶, homicides were up 12% 在 2021, forcing Mayor Eric Garcetti to answer some tough questionsand declare thatLos Angeles is not alone in this trend.” 就在上周, a 70-year-old nurse was attacked at an L.A. bus stop, and later died from her injuries.
然而, contrary to fearmongering from politicians and press, American cities are not experiencing record crime rates. Crime rates, including national homicide rates, remain well below where they were in the 1980s and 1990s, according to FBI data. But that’s a very low bar. The United States was already an exceptionally violent and deadly place for a wealthy, developed country, largely thanks to extremely lax gun laws that are one reason our violent death rate is many times higher than that of our economic peers. And it’s true that homicide rates are 增加 at a stunning rate, even if property crimes are less common than they once wereand some cities, from Philadelphia to Tucson, 亚利桑那 — did see record homicide rates 去年.
    When it comes to our current crime trends, two things are true: Deadly violence isn’t as pervasive as it was 20 几年前, but homicide numbers are rising in many major American cities.
      We should not collectively live in fear of deadly violenceand we shouldn’t wait to hit all-time crime highs before we act. But to decrease rates of violent crime, we have to do more than simply police. (And for the record, 没有, 的 “退还警察” movement is not behind rising crime rates. For all the inflamed rhetoric, most police forces were not actually defunded.) We need better gun laws, a more equal society, and certainly better social services for those who are struggling.
        One thing that is clear from the data is that guns drive American violence. The uptick in homicides during the pandemic, 例如, might not be about a lack of policing so much as about the fact that more people are carrying guns around. But many of the same conservatives who fret about violent crimecritiques of American policing refuse to budge on the one policy that has been 证明 to make a significant difference in homicide rates everywhere in the world: Gun regulations.
        Getting weapons off the streets, 虽然, is not the only issue. The US also fails to care for its vulnerable, which both puts them at risk and creates risks for others. It can be tricky to talk about mental illness, homelessness and crime because of stigma around mental illness and misconceptions about being unhoused. The truth is that the vast majority of violent crimes are generally not committed by homeless people or people living with mental illness; 事实上, people without shelter and those with mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators of them. For many people who do not have permanent homes, 的 威胁 of sexual assault, beatings, 抢劫案, and other acts of violence is a daily fact of life.
          But consigning huge numbers of people to live on the streets and in makeshift shelters comes with high social costs, to the public as well as to the human beings our society is treating as throwaways. An ABC-7 调查 of homelessness and crime in Los Angeles found that homeless people were involved in less than one in 10 of all crimes in the city. 但即使有 rising homelessness ratesthere were more than 66,000 unhoused people in Los Angeles county as of 2020, the last time there was an official count by the LA Homeless Services Authorityless than one-half of 1% of Los Angeles county 居民 are without permanent shelter, meaning that homeless people are significantly over-represented as both crime victims and perpetrators. Previous research has also found that homeless people who are bounced around from shelter to shelter are more likely to commit violent crimes. And while people who struggle with stable housing come from all walks of life, the conditions that the US is particularly bad at treatingincluding mental illness and addiction disordersare contributing factors.
          Anecdotally, mental health crises seem to be on the rise. And statistically, overdose deaths are way up. And yet decent mental health care and treatment for drug addiction remain out of reach for a great many Americans, and especially for those who lack the stability of permanent housing.
          Unhoused people, and especially those who struggle with addiction and mental health, are human beings living in a rich country that could support them with housing and health care, but instead chooses to treat them as disposable. That is a shame on all of us.

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            Two years into a pandemic, the American social fabric is fraying along with our collective mental health. Crime is up, 但 so is generally bad behavior, from kids misbehaving at school to air passengers screaming at flight attendants. Those we have neglected and pushed to the fringes are not immune from these broader trends.
            The question now isn’t, “Why is crime going up?” 它是: Why aren’t we taking common-sense measures, including gun regulations and support for those who need medical care and stable housing, to prevent it?




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