SO-CALLED “SANCTUARY CITY” NEW YORK SEES AMAZING DROP IN CRIME! — Maybe Gonzo Should Stop Lobbing Anti-Immigrant Grenades & Study What Actually Works!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/nyregion/new-york-city-crime-2017.html?_r=0

Ashley Southall reports for the NYT:

“It would have seemed unbelievable in 1990, when there were 2,245 killings in New York City, but as of Wednesday there have been just 286 in the city this year — the lowest since reliable records have been kept.

In fact, crime has fallen in New York City in each of the major felony categories — murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts — to a total of 94,806 as of Sunday, well below the previous record low of 101,716 set last year.

If the trend holds just a few more days, this year’s homicide total will be under the city’s previous low of 333 in 2014, and crime will have declined for 27 straight years, to levels that police officials have said are the lowest since the 1950s. The numbers, when taken together, portray a city of 8.5 million people growing safer even as the police, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, use less deadly force, make fewer arrests and scale back controversial practices like stopping and frisking thousands of people on the streets.

“There is no denying that the arc is truly exceptional in the unbroken streak of declining crime,” said William J. Bratton, who retired from his second stint as police commissioner last year.

But officials see one area of concern: an uptick in reports of rapes toward the end of the year. The increase, which officials said included a higher-than-normal number of attacks that occurred more than one year ago, coincided with the publication of accusations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, which gave rise to the #MeToo movementencouraging victims to come forward. City police officials have said they believed news coverage played a role in the spike in reports, though they also credited their own efforts combating domestic violence with encouraging victims to speak up.

And while rapes were down from last year by one, to 1,417, misdemeanor sex crimes — a catchall for various types of misconduct that includes groping — ticked up 9.3 percent to 3,585 so far.

The lower homicide numbers are still preliminary — and include one announced on Wednesday night — but they jibe with large drops in killings in major cities like Chicago and Detroit, while contrasting with sizable increases in killings in smaller cities like Charlotte and Baltimore.

The city today is a far cry from what it was when Mr. Bratton arrived in 1990 to become the head of the then-separate Transit Police. Not only were there 2,245 killings that year, but there were more than 527,000 major felony crimes and more than 5,000 people shot. Shootings have plunged to 774 so far this year, well below last year’s record low of 998. And for the first time, fewer than 1,000 people have been hurt by gunfire: 917 as of Sunday.

The continued declines are a boon to Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat elected on promises of police reform — promises that prompted warnings of mayhem to come by his opponents in 2013. But the opposite has happened, putting him on stronger footing as he pivots to a second term with a Police Department transformed to exercise greater restraint as it focuses on building trust in the city’s neighborhoods.

Franklin E. Zimring, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said the downturn was an “astounding achievement,” but it raised another question: How long and low will crime fall?

“We don’t know when we’ve exhausted the possibilities of urban crime decline, and we won’t know unless and until New York scrapes bottom,” said Mr. Zimring, who analyzed the first 20 years of New York’s historic crime reduction and expounded on it in a book.

Mr. de Blasio and the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, credit recent drops in crime to the Police Department’s emphasis on going after the relatively small groups of people — mostly gangs and repeat offenders — believed to be responsible for most crime, while also building relationships in communities where trust has been strained.

Mr. Bratton applauded political support for the police from the mayor, who provided funding for investments in officer hiring, training, equipment and overdose-reversal drugs.

One of the results is that police officers are using deadly force less often. As of Dec. 20, police officers intentionally fired their service guns in 23 encounters, a record low, down from 37 in 2016. The Police Department said officers were relying more on stun guns, which were used 491 times through November, compared with 474 times during the same period in 2016. More than 15,000 officers have been trained how to use them.

But criminologists differ about the cause of the continued declines. Mr. Zimring said that while better policing accounted for much of the decline in crime since 1990, it was no longer a primary driver. New York is “tiptoeing” toward a 90 percent crime decline for reasons that remain “utterly mysterious,” he said.

More broadly, research suggests that crime trends are closely tied to economic conditions. Interest rates, inflation and unemployment are among the macro-level factors influencing crime, according to James Austin, the president of the JFA Institute, a criminal justice policy nonprofit.

“What the Fed does will have more of an impact than any sentencing or police reforms,” Mr. Austin said.

The reductions in New York are a part of what the Brennan Center for Justice expects will be a 2.7-percent decline in crime rates and 5.6-percent drop in murder rates across the country’s largest cities. After record-high bloodshed last year, killings in Chicago have declined 15 percent.

Through August, rape was down in New York City 7 percent compared with last year, but a small increase in September was followed by spikes in October and November. The New York Times first published accusations against Mr. Weinstein on Oct. 5.

Reports of rapes that had occurred in a previous year, meanwhile, were up almost 12 percent through November. In response, the Police Department is adding investigators to its Special Victims Unit and hasmodernized the techniques detectives use to investigate claims.

“We can’t answer definitively” what is driving the rise, Commissioner O’Neill told reporters at a crime briefing this month. “At least I can’t. But we’re seeing people coming forward and having faith in the N.Y.P.D. And that’s what we want to happen.”

Whatever the reason for New York’s crime reductions, the statistics do not capture the complete picture of public safety. Some crimes are not represented fully or at all: acts of domestic violence, sexual assaults, identity thefts, hate crimes, and shootings that don’t result in injuries or damage.

In some cases, the data annotates horrible crimes: an ISIS-inspired truck rampage on a Manhattan bike lane on Halloween that left eight people dead; the ambush killing of a police officer, Miosotis Familia, 48, who was shot in the head on July 4 while sitting in her R.V.-style command post in the Bronx; the death of Timothy Caughman, 66, a black man, at the hands of a sword-wielding white supremacist on March 20.

Increasingly, officers are receiving calls to help people in emotional crises. The police responded to 157,000 such calls in 2016. But only 7,000 officers have received crisis intervention training for handling those situations.

While most police encounters are resolved without officers resorting to deadly force, fatal police shootings of people in emotional distress — including Dwayne Jeune on July 31 in Brooklyn and Miguel Richards on Sept. 6 in the Bronx — have drawn scrutiny. A police sergeant, Hugh Barry, was indicted on murder charges in May for the fatal on-duty shooting of a mentally ill woman, Deborah Danner, in October 2016. His trial is scheduled to begin in January.”

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AG Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions’s White Nationalist inspired anti-immigrant, anti-Sanctuary Cities, “turn a blind eye to police brutality” campaign actually impedes the type of community-trust based policing that appears to work in reducing crime. As I have noted before, Gonzo’s policies show little respect for the Constitution, the rule of law, or state and local rights, but lots of anti-immigrant bias.

PWS

01-01-18

SURPRISE! – GONZO LIES: “2017 is on pace for the second-lowest crime rate since 1990 — and near-record low murders” — Sessions Fabricates “Crime Wave” To Support White Nationalist Anti-Hispanic, Anti-Black Political Narrative! –“It’s irresponsible to incite public panic based on falsehoods, and it makes our police officers’ jobs harder.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/09/06/2017-is-on-pace-to-have-the-second-lowest-crime-rate-since-1990-and-near-record-low-murders/?utm_term=.d5c197d6052e

Philip Bump reports in the Washington Post:

“At his swearing-in as the nation’s top law enforcement official in February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions picked up a thread that had run throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president: America is experiencing an alarming crime wave.

“We have a crime problem,” Sessions said. “I wish the rise that we are seeing in crime in America today were some sort of aberration or a blip. My best judgment, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years, is that this is a dangerous, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk.”

Preliminary analysis of crime data from the nation’s 30 largest cities released by the Brennan Center for Justice on Wednesday suggests that it isn’t. According to the center’s overview of crime and murder data, 2017 is on pace to have the second-lowest violent crime rate of any year since 1990.

From the report:

  • The overall crime rate is projected to drop by 1.8 percent to the second-lowest point since 1990.
  • The violent crime rate is projected to fall by 0.6 percent, also to the second-lowest point in over 25 years. (The lowest rate was in 2014.) “This result,” the report’s authors write, “is driven primarily by stabilization in Chicago and declines in Washington, D.C., two large cities that experienced increases in violence in recent years.”
  • The murder rate is projected to be down 2.5 percent, on-par with the rate in 2009.

Explore the center’s data for each of the country’s largest cities.

While there was indeed a national uptick in violent crime and murder during 2015 and 2016, one of the underrecognized drivers of those shifts was the sharp increase in killings in two cities, Chicago and Baltimore, which combined made up more than half of the increase in murders in large cities from 2014 to 2017. This year, the number of murders in Chicago alone is expected to drop 2.4 percent. But it’s declines in New York, Houston and Detroit that are driving the overall decrease.

Inimai Chettiar, director of the justice program at the center, told The Post that the analysis suggested two things.

“First, the long-term trend toward safer cities isn’t going anywhere,” Chettiar said over email. “The evidence conclusively shows there is currently no national crime wave. Second, short-term fluctuations in crime are often driven by local factors.”

There are several cities that reinforce that point. The murder rate in Charlotte, doubled over the first half of 2017, for example, even as it fell sharply in other places.

Chettiar addressed Sessions’s concerns directly.

“Our data leads us to believe that the upticks in 2015 and 2016 were likely short-term fluctuations,” she wrote, noting that “not enough research has been done to identify the exact catalyst.”

The center, which is a part of the New York University School of Law, shared its report with Ronal Serpas, a former New Orleans police superintendent who now co-chairs an organization focused on reducing incarceration rates.

“In contrast to what we have been hearing from the president and attorney general, this new data from police departments shows that all measures of crime and murder are in decline this year,” Serpas said in a statement provided to The Post. “It’s irresponsible to incite public panic based on falsehoods, and it makes our police officers’ jobs harder.” Both Serpas and Chettiar noted that in places where violent crime had increased the Trump administration’s focus was best placed on that crime — as opposed to immigration violations, for example.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands waiting during a meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in March. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As the Trump campaign and then the Trump presidency cited localized increases as examples of the crime threat that Trump pledged to solve, independent observers frequently noted that, despite the uptick in crime in recent years, overall levels were still near recent lows following the sharp drop of the last 20 years. The Brennan Center’s analysis suggests that this trend will continue, leading the administration to a no-doubt vexing problem:

Is it too soon to claim credit?

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I’ve noted many times before that Session’s disingenuous, xenophobic, White Nationalist focus on immigration enforcement actually makes the country less safe from crime. This report confirms that.

Moreover, with his “morbid fixation” on spreading a false narrative on immigration, Sessions has abandoned the real law enforcement functions of the DOJ, particularly in the areas of civil rights, voting rights, police brutality, prison reform, protection of the LGBTQ community, right-wing hate groups, domestic violence, and effectively combatting gangs, drug cartels, and human traffickers. As I’ve noted before, the latter three groups have been energized and empowered by Sessions’s focus on janitors, maids, gardeners, Dreamers and other “collaterals” — even dissing legal immigrants ands implicitly U.S. citizens of ethnic and immigrant heritage — rather than working on nuanced solutions to real law enforcement problems. By sowing unnecessary fear, mistrust, and terror among law-abiding productive members of migrant communities, he has basically “green-lighted” them as targets for crime, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and gang recruitment. Ironically, this is a scenario I heard many times from individuals seeking refuge from third world countries: “I can’t go to the police because they won’t help and might even abuse or arrest me with impunity.”

Sessions is destroying the hard work of of community policing in ethnic communities in many cities throughout the U.S. One reason that many jurisdictions abandoned the “Safe Communities” program pushed by the Obama Administration is because they found it was a misnomer: busting undocumented workers and minor offenders actually did not make communities “safer.” Rather than learning from history, Sessions is doubling down on past failures. “Irresponsible” might be too kind a word to describe the Trump-Sessions White Nationalist legal agenda.

PWS

09-09-17

Brennan Center For Justice Report: “Non-Citizens Are Not Voting. Here Are the Facts.”

http://Non-Citizens Are Not Voting. Here Are the Facts.

Wendy R. Weiser & Douglas Keith report:

“The Trump administration continues to double down on its false and widely-criticized assertion that 3 to 5 million non-citizens illegally voted in the 2016 election.

On Sunday, White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller claimed 14% of non-citizens are registered to vote. “We know for a fact, you have massive numbers of non-citizens registered to vote in this country,” he said, appearing on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos. “The White House has provided enormous evidence with respect to voter fraud.”

Actually, it hasn’t. Nevertheless, President Trump announced earlier this month, despite the lack of evidence, that Vice President Mike Pence will lead a federal investigation into voter fraud.

Tons of ink has been devoted to debunking the president’s claims that our elections are marred by widespread voter fraud. But few have focused specifically on his administration’s larger false claims about non-citizens. It is important to put this particular allegation to bed once and for all.

Like voter fraud generally, non-citizen voting is incredibly rare. Simply put, we already know that ineligible non-citizens do not vote in American elections — including the 2016 election — except at negligible rates. Here are the facts.”

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Read the entire report at the link. This matches my own experience. During my my 21+ years as a trial and appellate judge in the U.S. Immigration Court system, and having been involved in thousands of cases over that time, I can only recollect the illegal voting issue coming up once. I am also aware that one of my judicial colleagues in Arlington had it come up. But, it was very, very rare. And, I was serving as a judge during times of “enhanced enforcement” by administrations of both parties (no, President Trump is not the only one to ever think about strong immigration enforcement).

PWS

02-17-17