Domenico Montanaro at NPR:
Violent crime is on the rise in urban areas across the country.
Many small cities that typically have relatively few murders are seeing significant increases over last year. Killings in Albuquerque, N.M., Austin, Texas, and Pittsburgh, for example, have about doubled so far in 2021, while Portland, Ore., has had five times as many murders compared to last year, according to data compiled by Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and co-founder of AH Datalytics.
Most cities in the United States, including each of those named above, have a Democratic mayor. After protests last year over police violence against Black Americans — notably the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis — there has been a push from the left to "defund" police departments.
Republicans are already going after Democrats with a three-pronged strategy that includes attacks on crime; the economy, particularly rising inflation and labor shortages; and border security.
In response, Democratic strategists believe Democratic candidates and the White House need to take on the issue of crime directly ... Democratic candidates are being encouraged by the party to tout accomplishments, like securing increased funding for police and schools as part of the COVID-19 relief package that Democrats passed — as well as pushing back against Republican attacks.
While Newsom’s challengers spent Wednesday in court battling over ballot designations, the governor was making his own appeal to the court of public opinion. In a likely attempt to soothe voters spooked by a 31% spike in homicides, potentially shorter prison sentences for 76,000 inmates, and viral videos of store robberies, Newsom signed into law a bill to continue classifying organized retail theft as a crime and keep task forces in place. He also appeared to chastise progressive district attorneys, such as George Gascón in Los Angeles and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, by encouraging prosecutors to “take seriously those re-offenses” and “be a little bit more proactive on enforcement and prosecution of those crimes.”
The press conference came a day after high-profile victim advocates — including Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was murdered in 1996 — gathered in Sacramento to denounce Newsom’s criminal justice policies.
- Joanna Rodriguez, spokesperson for Recall Gavin Newsom Action: “Californians deserve a governor who cares about their safety and the economic impacts of increasing crime all the time — not just when facing the threat of recall.”