By Brett Gillin
In the aftermath of the protests-turned-riots in Baltimore, New York and many other cities throughout the United States, a disturbing trend is beginning to come to light. Recent crime statistics show that despite citizens looking to effect change in police forces through protests, the type of change they’re looking for is having unintended consequences. The murder rates are up, and they’re up in a big way.
In Manhattan New York, for example, murders are up nearly 50% over this time last year. In that borough alone, at least 16 people have been killed since January 1st. At the same time last year, there were 11 murders in Manhattan according to the New York Post, and murders aren’t the only crime that is up.
“Shooting incidents,” or crimes in which a gun was discharged, have also climbed in 2015. Last year, at this time there were 31 incidents involving the discharging of a gun, but already there have been 50 in 2015, more than a few of which involve more than one victim. This means that nearly 100% more people have been victims of a shooting this year alone, from 33 in 2014 to 61 in 2015.
A police source told the Post that City Hall needs to wake up and figure out how to best address these issues. He explained that with the current Mayor de Blasio policies calling for a vast decrease in “stop-and-frisks” and the shortage of police officers, these trends are likely to continue.
Things in Baltimore are even more worrisome. RT.com reports that in the last 30 days alone, Baltimore has been the home to at least 34 murders. When looking over the violent, gun-related crimes dating back to January 1, 2015, those numbers get even worse. To date, there have been at least 164 non-fatal shootings in Baltimore and 96 homicides, 21 more than the previous year.
The trend in Baltimore is getting even worse, especially since the death of Freddie Gray. Since the public learned of Gray’s death, Baltimore has seen more than one violent death per day. Strangely enough, despite the widespread coverage of the riots in Baltimore following Gray’s death, the huge surge in violent crime has not been widely reported.
Peter Hermann of the Washington Post explained that while the nation’s eyes were fixed on the riots, the number of dead bodies piling up have gone largely unreported. “Although riots and protests after the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured in police custody, brought national attention to the city, the slayings have attracted little notice,” Hermann writes.
Unfortunately, police officers are suffering from low morale and the fear that their city has completely turned against them, according to the Washington Post. Lt. Kenneth Butler, a 29-year police veteran and the president of a black officers’ group, told reporters “Officers are coming up to me and saying, ‘I’m afraid to do my job.’ Officers, both black and white, are equally upset, their morale is low.”
Cops feel they are suffering under politically motivated investigations due to the media, certain minority groups (and their leaders) and weak politicians, officials and command staff. That’s the real reason why they feel they can no longer do their jobs and why they are weighing whether it’s worth it or not to take action.
Add to those feelings that police are being forced to second-guess themselves in the wake of the riots, and things get even more worrisome. Lt. Victory Gearhart, a 33-year veteran of the police force explains “Now they have to think, ‘What happens if this turns bad? What is going to happen to me?’”