As you have doubtless read by now, America’s homicide rates have been on an alarming uptick in recent years. A related and important figure, if one that is less discussed, is the country’s clearance rate for murder. But those numbers are the subject of a significant new CBS investigation.
The findings are alarming. Clearance rates were at their lowest point in half a century in 2020 — the most recent year for which data is available and, obviously, a significant year when it comes to the interrelated questions of policing and criminal justice. As the CBS charts show, the fall on previous years is precipitous. For the last seven months of 2020, more murders were unsolved than were solved. A first, according to Thomas Hargrove of the Murder Accountability Project. The numbers are especially bleak in some of the country’s violent crime hotspots. In Chicago, for example, there’s only a one in four chance that a murderer will be arrested for his crime.
Amid soaring homicide numbers, murderers are, more often than not, getting away with it. Too often, impunity is the norm in America today. That doesn’t just mean America is failing its murder victims. It also means it is creating the conditions for many more to come in the future. The picture painted by the CBS reporting — overstretched police departments and black Americans paying the highest price for the failure to solve murders — is yet another illustration of the catastrophic consequences of the post-George Floyd Defund the Police era.
Pathetically low clearance rates also get at the ways in which criminal justice and effective policing are mutually reinforcing. A well-funded police department with the capacity to prevent and solve crimes is one that engenders the trust of the community it serves. By contrast, a city where murderers get away with it is a place where the police is not seen to be doing its job, where justice is dealt with in other ways and violence begets more violence.
Many parts of liberal America still acts as this is no big deal. Take West Hollywood, where the local council has voted to cut spending on the cops, reducing the number of sheriffs and adding “security ambassadors.” I’m not sure what these security ambassadors do, but I feel fairly sure that it is not the kind of no-nonsense detective work that will get clearance rates down.
A patriotic low
From one cheery subject to another: the sorry state of American patriotism. Ahead of July 4, a Gallup survey reveals a record low for the percentage of Americans who say they are “extremely proud” to be American. The figure — 38 percent — is the lowest since Gallup started asking the question in 2001. Taken together with those who say they are “very proud” to be American, 27 percent, 65 percent express enthusiastic pride in the country. Twenty-two percent say they are “moderately proud,” 9 percent “only a little” and 4 percent “not at all” proud.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the survey is the big fall in the percentage of Republican voters who say they are “extremely proud” to be American. This year that figure is 58 percent, compared to 76 percent in 2019. Less surprisingly, the figures for independents and Democrats are lower, at 34 percent and 26 percent respectively.
Don’t check your 401k
We’re exactly halfway through 2022 and, as will be clear to anyone who has checked their 401k lately, the stock market isn’t doing too well. In fact, this is the worst first six months for the S&P 500 in fifty years. The index is down 20.6 percent since January 1. The only first-six-months that were worse for investors: 1970, 1962 and 1932. Rising prices and tumbling stocks… enjoy a well deserved break from all that over the long July 4 weekend. And remember: the president is relaxed about how inebriated people are on the drive home from the family cookout.
What you should be reading today
The Editors: As goes Florida…
Peter Van Buren: Five things to bear in mind after Dobbs
Alexander Larman: The inevitable fall of R. Kelly
Emily Yoffe, Common Sense: Biden’s sex police
Ruy Teixeira, the Liberal Patriot: What’s going on with Hispanic working-class voters?
Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court rules Biden can end Trump-era remain in Mexico policy
President Biden job approval
Approve: 38.1 percent
Disapprove: 57.5 percent
Net approval: -19.4 (RCP Average)
Hypothetical 2024 presidential match-up
Joe Biden: 39 percent
Donald Trump: 44 percent (Emerson)