By Crescenzo Vellucci
The Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief
NEW YORK – News stories in the New York Times and other media these past few weeks are suggesting murder rates are increasing nationwide and it’s because oft-criticized police – inundated with brutality complaints – are pulling back and not doing their job.
But according to a report by FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) in answer to “copaganda,” the NY Times reporting on so-called “rising murder rates” – attributed to the “Ferguson Effect” – is just plain false.
FAIR interviews Alec Karakatsanis, executive director of Civil Rights Corps, and author of the book Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System, who maintains the NY Times reporters are biased, and they are only speculating there’s a connection between police and murder rates.
“I don’t know where to start. It’s stunning These stories are steeped in false assumptions,” said Karakatsanis, who notes that one of the NY Times reporters has a history of working with and for the CIA, law enforcement and CIA front groups. And that the NY Times chose not to disclose that.
He notes that the coverage reminds him of the “news leading up to the Iraq War” that falsely led the people to believe the war was necessary.
Karakatsanis said “police for years have been surveilling every major social movement” and that murder rates are actually near 40 to 50 year lows” – but the news media implies fewer police “equals more crimes” as if they are some sort of “crime prevention” fighters.
He notes that “you never see reported” in the crime data “crimes committed by police…several hundreds of thousands of violations of clean water act, wage theft , fraudulent overdraft fees, which dwarf all property crimes. $50 billion in wage theft. The police count as crime and what they don’t, and they don’t include those,” Karakatsanis said.
Citing scientific sources, the author said claims of murder rates going up because police are pulling back because of the “Ferguson Effect” are false. He noted statistics showing that “Murder rates far more often correlated with poverty, toxic masculinity–things not really connected with the police.”
FAIR points out that the myth that “more police means less crime is a common meme, promoted by every mystery or crime procedural, but the truth is that police solve 20 percent of crimes, and only two percent of serious crimes. Perry Mason they ain’t.”
Karakatsanis referenced another COVID-era myth, that bail reform – or as the NY Times calls it, the “revolving jailhouse door” – is now blamed for supposedly increased crime rates.
He said the media touts an “out of control super predator class” and the “crime wave is coming right at people,” when “cash bail is actually harmful” and that any crime increase is not the result of keeping people out of “cages because they don’t have money,” noting analysis that show bail is a problem not a solution.
FAIR adds that the evidence shows “detaining people who can’t afford bail actually harms public safety, disrupting lives already on the brink, making crime, assault, murder, more likely. As Anatole France says: ‘The law in its magnificent equality forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges, begging in the street and stealing bread.’”