Since the Republican National Convention in July, a major theme of Donald Trump’s campaign is that the United States is a hellscape of crime and lawlessness – something he alone will fix as president.
In recent weeks, Trump has tweaked this argument in a way that he thinks will appeal to African-American voters – even though it most certainly will not.
Inner-city crime is reaching record levels. African-Americans will vote for Trump because they know I will stop the slaughter going on!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2016
The fact that this is Trump’s way of “reaching out” to African-American voters is laughable – but it’s also based entirely on a lie.
It’s such a lie that independent fact-checking organization PolitiFact rates the claim made by Trump on Monday as “Pants On Fire!”
According to the fact checker, inner-city crime is “not even close” to record levels.
“The frequency of violent crime has declined since the early-to-mid 1990s,” PolitiFact notes. “The homicide rate and the violent crime rate has fallen to such an extent over the past quarter century — both in big cities and in the country at large — that it would take many years of significant increases to return to the ‘record levels’ of the early 1990s.”
To illustrate just how big Trump’s crime lie is, they put together this chart using data from the FBI:
Inner-cities are not consumed by record levels of violent crime. Trump and his supporters will likely continue to repeat it as fact from now until November, but it still won’t be true.
What is true is that Trump needs voters to be scared, to think that the United States is a third-world country filled with crime and violence, in order to have a chance. But it’s not – no matter how often the Republican nominee repeats it.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.