New Violence Becomes the New Normal

Baltimore is one of the only cities in America that didn’t see a rise in murder in 2020. (The other being Newark, NJ.) That’s the good news. The bad news is that murder in Baltimore increased by 2/3rd after the riots of April 27, 2015 and a subsequent change in policing (“depolicing”) as demanded by “reformers.” The rise in violence was not “just a blip.” It became the new normal. It’s stayed at that high level ever since.

It is possible that there is a certain level of violence that any given city might see with proactive policing. And other without proactive policing.

What this might mean is that the increase in shootings and murder almost every city saw in 2020 — the largest one-year increase American has ever seen — is likely here to stay. I hope I’m wrong. But I wouldn’t expect any improvement unless police get back to policing repeat violent offenders, and unless prosecutors prosecute those offenders even for non-violence crimes. And unless some of the offenders are held in jail.

Let us not forget that for well over a decade America managed to bring down both crime and incarceration. But you would never have known that listening to reformers push for ever less policing and ever less prosecution and jail. They seemed unaware of the progress that had and was being made. Politically, criminal justice reform can only happen when there a basic level of public safety and public order. More importantly, just because somebody calls it “reform” doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good idea.

10 thoughts on “New Violence Becomes the New Normal

  1. Hey there Peter. Matty Yglesias just published this long piece on how to reform police departments, taking aim at the entire defund the police narrative while proposing other concrete steps, many of which require more money, not less.

    I look forward to hearing you thoughts. BTW, I grew up in Maryland, outside Baltimore, currently live near John Jay, and volunteer as an auxiliary in the Central Park Precinct.

  2. Ever since the riots initiated, police and crime have gone up. I hope your theory on new crime doesn’t come to fruition. The police does not need to be defunded, it needs to have more force to enable their jobs to keep the public safe and protected. Have a wonderful day Mr. Moskos.

  3. New violence is a very scary thought, as we lose more people to unnecessary violence. I hope your theory on increase mass shooting is false, but who knows what people are thinking nowadays. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter, and I hope you have an excellent day.

  4. Violence is the new norm indeed unfortunately. The riots came and brought up the number of crimes. Police need all the help and support they are human as well. Great writing Mr. Moskos.

  5. The police need more funding than ever before and they also need better training. “Defunding” the police is not the answer because we need the police to keep communities safe from violence and riots. There should be a standard for training, physical physique, and communication (to defuse a situation without using force/violence). I hope to see a decrease in violence this year so it does not become the new norm. Interesting stats have a great day.

  6. Society today has created a social norm to rebel against the criminal justice system with acronyms such as ACAB being extremely popular at the moment it wouldn’t be a surprise that the crime rate would go up and be here to stay. The idea that you state that these numbers are going to go up and stay up seems like an accurate idea as its similar to increase back in 2015 and as the great saying goes history tends to repeat itself

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