Crime Is Up in California. Sort of. Don’t Panic.

The LA Times reports that crime is up in California and people are worried. Let’s take a look:

I used FBI data through 2014 and the same Open Portal data used by the LA Times data for 2015-17. The Times appears to have mis-transcribed its own number for violent crime in 2017, so I fixed that (the real number is higher than the one used in the Times chart). The result is what you see above: the immense crime surge that’s prompted some people to say we should roll back the modest criminal justice reforms we’ve made over the past few years. This is nuts. It’s especially nuts because California enacted a couple of those reforms in 2011 and 2014, and crime rates surged in 2012 and 2015. Cause and effect! Of course, crime rates then dropped back to their previous levels in 2013 and 2016, suggesting that the tiny surges were either (a) nothing, or (b) temporary tiny changes while law enforcement got used to the new rules.

There’s literally nothing here unless you think that every tiny blip in the crime rate is cause for panic. It’s not. Crime rates are down about 50 percent over the past few decades, but there are going to be minor blips here and there if you look at periods of just a few years. Everybody needs to settle down here.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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