Trump keeps lying about crime in America.
For weeks now, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been harping on how crime is allegedly “out of control” in American cities. On Monday morning, he reiterated the talking point as part of his ongoing pitch to African American voters. In a series of tweets, Trump repeated his claims that African-Americans live in neighborhoods overrun by criminals and, if they vote for him, he'll clean it up.
Trump didn’t cite any evidence to support the point he’s trying to make. But his claim that crime is at “record levels” in the inner-city or elsewhere is false. Violent crime in America’s cities has actually been declining for two decades. The New York Police Department’s latest crime figures embody the point — while murders are up 12 percent so far this year relative to 2014, they’re down 82 percent compared to 23 years ago.
“The average person in a large urban area is safer walking on the street today than he or she would have been at almost any time in the past 30 years,” the authors of a report on 2015 crime data for the Brennan Center For Justice wrote.
When Trump has used specific numbers, he’s cherry-picked ones that take long-term trends out of context. For instance, during his speech to the Republican National Convention last month, Trump mentioned that homicide rates in the country’s 50 largest cities were up last year compared to 2014. That’s factually correct, but it’s also a misleading way to talk about crime, as a brief uptick isn’t inconsistent with a long-term downward trend.
With regard to crime more broadly, the Brennan report found that “crime rates remain at historic lows nationally, despite recent upticks in a handful of cities.”
But Trump isn’t one to let data get in the way of a narrative he wants to push. For instance, last year he tweeted a series of made up murder statistics from a fake stats bureau purportedly showing that blacks are responsible for way more violent crime than is actually the case. It was later revealed that a graphic Trump shared containing the made-up “statistics” was posted by a neo-Nazi who used a swastika as his avatar.
Rather than rolling out an actual policy agenda aimed at addressing problems in America’s cities, Trump has courted African Americans by painting an exceedingly bleak portrait of their lives in front of the predominately white audiences who attend his rallies.
When he’s pressed on what he’ll actually do to try and tamp down on crime, Trump merely points out that he supports “tough police tactics” without specifying what that entails.
He publicly congratulated himself after the recent murder of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, because he believes that sort of senseless violence encourages African Americans to vote Trump, even if he doesn’t have a real plan to do anything about it. So far, his message hasn’t resonated— recent polling shows Trump in the single digits among African Americans.
Trump claims Virginia saw a "huge increase" in illegal immigration when Tim Kaine was governor. Trump lies.
Donald Trump depicted Tim Kaine’s 2006-10 tenure as governor of Virginia as a painful time of tax hike proposals and rising unemployment.
"He also oversaw a huge increase in illegal immigration, a tremendous increase," Trump told supporters at an Aug. 20 rally in Fredericksburg.
We wondered whether Trump was correct that, under Kaine’s governorship, illegal immigration spiked. We emailed the Trump campaign twice to ask about the basis of his statement, but we did not hear back.
The GOP presidential nominee’s campaign posted a version of his speech online that includes a footnote to support his claim. It’s a 2007 editorial in The Washington Times that accused Kaine of failing to crack down on unauthorized immigrants who commit crimes.
But the editorial provides no insight into whether the number of illegal immigrants in the state rose during Kaine’s tenure.
For additional insight, we reached out to the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, which estimates the size of the illegal immigration population in each state. Here are Pew’s figures on the size of Virginia’s illegal immigrant population by year:
•2005 - 250,000
•2006 - 250,000
•2007 - 250,000
•2008 - 275,000
•2009 - 250,000
•2010 - 275,000
For 2011 and 2012, the latest years for which figures are available, the size of the illegal immigrant population also was 275,000, Pew found.
So when Kaine entered office in 2006, the size of the illegal immigrant population was 250,000, it rose to 275,000 in 2008 and then went back down to its original level during 2009, his last full year in office, according to the Pew figures.
If you go to 2010, during which Kaine served only the first two weeks, the illegal immigrant population was 275,000 - or 25,000 higher than when he entered the governor’s mansion.
While a 10 percent increase in the illegal immigrant population between 2006 and 2010 might seem significant, it’s actually not much of a change at all from a statistical perspective, said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew.
Passel explained that the research group’s illegal immigration figures are not meant to be exact figures on the size of the state’s illegal immigrant population. Rather, they are estimates culled from a sample of data collected by the Census Bureau and are subject to rounding. Just like a public polls drawn from a sample, there’s a margin of error involved in the estimates.
During Kaine’s time in office, the annual size of the illegal immigrant population could be 15,000 to 20,000 higher or lower than the mid-range estimate Pew reported each year, according to its report. So it’s possible that a 25,000 increase from year-to-year might not outpace the Pew study’s margin of error.
The bottom line, during Kaine’s tenure the size of the illegal immigrant population remained flat, Passel said.
Nationally, the illegal immigrant population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and fell to 11.3 million in 2013, Pew’s figures show. A major reason for that drop was the impact of the Great Recession, Passel told us.
The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a question we posed about how Kaine’s policies as governor would have led to an increase in illegal immigration.
Analysts told us that beyond state laws, many other factors contribute to where illegal immigrants choose to reside.
Michelle Mittelstadt, a spokeswoman for the Migration Policy Institute, told us illegal immigrants often settle in a state based on how its economy is doing, and whether they already have family living there.