University of Toronto Report Reveals Zero Relationship between Violent Crime and Progressive Prosecution  


By Leslie Acevedo and Alexis Rios-Jimenez

TORONTO, CANADA – There is no evidence progressive prosecution is associated with the increase of homicide, according to a report released last week by the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

The report analyzed recent data on whether or not a relationship exists between violent crime and “progressive prosecution.” And they found none, said researchers.

The report, “Violent Crime and Public Prosecution: A Review of Recent Data on Homicide, Robbery, and Progressive Prosecution in the United States,” hoped to explain the contributing factors to a “the sharp increase in homicide in dozens of major cities in the United States in 2020.”

Two methods were used to analyze the difference between violent crime and progressive prosecution: putting together data on violent crime from several dozen major cities and “longitudinal analyses of the incidence of homicide in cities with and without progressive prosecutors before and after their election.”

Data used in the report was from local police depts, rather than the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report or National Incident-Based Reporting System, limiting the comparison to a several dozen major cities.

The report illustrated homicide patterns during the pandemic were on a city-to-city basis. Homicides decreased in several major cities, ones that may have progressive prosecutors.

Homicides in 2021 did not decrease and decline in other major cities.

Changes in the number of homicides are suggested to be the result of the second year in the pandemic and not progressive prosecution, the report suggested. According to the report, the increase of violent crime during the pandemic was limited to homicide.

The report concludes there is no relationship between robbery and the appointment of progressive prosecutors, and in fact, contrary to belief, robberies “decreased in 2020 [and the following year.”

By using a statistical model, the report said “that we find that neither having a ‘progressive’ prosecutor nor a ‘middle’ prosecutor had an effect on homicide or larceny compared to ‘traditional’ prosecutors during this time.”

Through the examination of homicide data on three populous cities [Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia) the report found no evidence progressive prosecution is associated with the increase of homicide.

Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy suggest qualitative research on criminal justice: “interviews with participants and direct observation of the work of progressive prosecution.”


About The Author

Leslie Acevedo is a senior undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach, majoring in Criminology/Criminal Justice. She intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Forensic Science or Criminal Justice. She aspires to become a forensic investigator.

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