What is Driving the Surge in American Crime Rates?

What is Driving the Surge in American Crime Rates?

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
April 15, 2024

The crime rate across the country, particularly in certain American cities has skyrocketed. Whether it be due to a lack of opportunity in poorer areas, the end of cashless bail, and police reform in some cities enabling crime, or the arrival of criminals from foreign countries thanks to the ongoing border crisis, crime is up.

Several Republicans focused specifically on the cashless bail and police reform aspects, as four states (New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois) and Washington, D.C., have abolished cash bail. Reforms in policing and prosecution in some cities have also been criticized as "soft on crime."

"When things get harder, you are going to see more crime," Representative Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) told The Floridian, "and in some communities, where they have this cashless bail, and they are soft on crime, they are going to see more crime."

Additionally, Rep. Gimenez mentioned the border crisis, saying, "And in some communities where you see a large influx of migrants that maybe have criminality in their past if they did that in their native land, they are going to do it here."

Representative Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) gave a similar answer: "I think when you have taken away the deterrent, which is cashless bail and letting them out without charging them, I think you are getting rid of the deterrent, I think you are encouraging more crime."

Referring to illegal aliens committing crimes, Rep. Van Duyne noted the late January incident where a group of Venezuelan migrants attacked two New York City police officers "in broad daylight... and you do not even know who they are, you do not know if they have got valid ID, and you let them out the very next day, what message do you think you are sending?"

Representative Jake Ellzey (R-TX) was more direct and blunt in his answer on rising crime rates in certain cities: "Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does crime. Crime enjoys a vacuum. So there is a direct link, it is proven throughout the nation, where you pull back on community policing and the police force in presence, and that is true military or with crime too."

By contrast, Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) told The Floridian that crime rates correspond to a lack of rehabilitation efforts for criminals such as mental health treatment and substance abuse, saying the justice system is "horrible for rehabilitation. It is great for recidivism, but it is harmful to rehabilitation." Moreover, Rep. Bowman suggested, "Until we deal with that, there will be persistent ebbs and flows [in crime]."

Similarly, Representative Maxwell Frost (D-FL) was more optimistic in his answer on crime rates, focusing on how gun crime has decreased, and "a lot of that has to do with the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, but a there is a lot of cities in Florida who have used federal money to up their community violence intervention programs, Orlando being one of them."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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