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Does President Obama Deserve Credit when Murder Rates Fall?

Updated on January 26, 2011

Un-Approved for the Truth?

Recently there has been some talk, including in Hubpages, about one of President Obama's successes, the murder rate in the US has dropped in the last year. The theory goes like this, murder rate dropped, must be something that Obama is doing...

Well I posted a comment to one such article and the comment went something like this;

It is a misnomer that a bad economy increases crime. During the US great Depression crime went down. In the roaring 20's crime rose significantly. Then I gave a link to NPR, (definitely not a right wing outpost) that backs up that statement.

Next I suggested that property crimes do show some increase in poor economic times but the theory goes is that cutbacks in police and law enforcement allow criminals to commit multiple crimes without being caught because of cutbacks in law enforcement. (Granted this may be modestly controversial but it is certainly not crazy???)

I suggested that in fact this decrease in murder rates may be a true indicator that we are in a bad economy and little more. Followed by a minor quip about money then may be the root of all evil... (I is the love of money that is the root of all evil...another truism that is misquoted.)

My Comment was Unapproved

Ha! I couldn't believe it. It was initially posted then...removed. What was so anti-Obama or untactful about my comments? I wish I had it word for word but I captured the essence above. In fact someone even suggested the criminals can't afford bullets anymore so I now it was up for a while. I suspect as in many cases, we can not allow facts and truth to undermine the opinion of an ideologue.

The Real Truth about Crime and This Down Economy

I don't claim to be an expert but do a simple test yourself, google something like "crime rates in a down economy" you will see story after story about how the crime rates are falling. Sure if you dig deep, there are pockets where it may be going up. Sure things like shoplifting go up but overall crime is going down in this bad economy.

The bigger truth is that crime rates have been going down steadily since the 90's. (see photo above.) Theories are abound about why and how this all works but the truth is nobody really knows. To suggest that this president had anything whatsoever to do with the reduction in murder is simply being misinformed.

To be fair, while I don't really give him credit for the lower murder rate, I also don't blame the president for one failed terrorist attack on the US. It was bound to happen sooner or later. I just thank God it was a failed attack.

Credit Where Credit is Due?

This of course leads to another political truism, for those in leadership, if they get the blame for all the bad stuff then he should get the credit when things go well. Another example is, when the economy is bad and you are the sitting president you get the blame. When it is good you get the credit. That is just the way it is sometimes... but does this president accept both the blame and credit? Let's have a closer look.

The Buck Stops Here...Sometimes

In a recent article in the associated press, again not exactly knows as a bastion of conservative thinking, the writer is poking fun at the president because a year into his administration,Obama is still blaming Bush. Now give the writer of the story some credit, he's trying to make the case that things are better under this president but he's not getting the credit because, as he accurately points out, people don't want to know that things are "less worse" than they could have been, they want them better. This suggest that the blaming Bush strategy is probably a bad idea.

My question then is this, if Obama gets credit for the drop in homicide, just because he's president, then, why doesn't he get the blame for the bad jobs numbers 1 year after he spent a trillion dollars to fix it? A rhetorical question indeed.

Life Lessons

This serves to point out a couple of life lessons about politics and human nature I guess;

Lesson 1 - Facts and truth do not get in the way of a good truism in politics.

Lesson 2 - In politics today, the buck stops here except when there's bad news, then blame someone else.

I'm certain there are more lessons but the facts are the facts and it is frustrating that ignorance is allowed to continue. I'll get off my soap box now.

Crime Rate Quiz

view quiz statistics

The Blame/Credit Poll

Does Obama Deserve Credit for the Lower Murder Rate?

See results

The Blame/Credit Poll - Part 2

Does Obama deserve blame for the floundering jobs numbers and bad economy?

See results


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    • Tom T profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom T 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      @Serena Gabriel - Sorry to hear that things are not as safe where you live. Certainly there are regional issues. It is also true that looking at the long term view crime rates are still falling as a nation.

      This piece was meant to look at the scope of the problem in a broad perspective and suggest that all the hoopala about credit going to a President is just hype. There are other factors that no president can control. On this we agree.

      While I share some of your sentiment about the office of the president, I do believe if we have the right person that person can lead.

      The office itself lends to a person with vision and leadership the opportunity to inspire. Someone who paints a picture of how good America can be etc. That kind of person would be more than just a figurehead.

      Thanks again for adding to the conversation.

    • profile image

      Serena Gabriel 

      7 years ago

      Well, I can assure you that crime is up where I live! I talked to the local sheriff's department about it when we had a rash of crimes in this semi-rural area last year.

      It has been increasing every year here for the past 10 to 15 years - all fueled by meth. For the first time ever people where I live are installing alarm systems at their houses and taking other precautions. I'm talking about putting bars on a couple of my windows for the same reason. Crime is certainly not down, regardless of what city police departments or the Feds might be reporting.

      One way or another it has nothing to do with the president. He is nothing more than a figurehead with veto power over Congress. What he does has little effect on my local criminals.

    • Tom T profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom T 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Alladream74 Great way to describe it...creature. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      9 years ago from Oakland, California

      Mmm, points to ponder here. Society is a strange creature to understand

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Tom - having written some Hubs that don't present this administration favorably I've drawn a bit of "less than friendly fire". I've never denied or taken down a comment simply because someone disagrees with me but I have denied commenters that take an attack stance on me personally as it's counter productive. I, for one, see none of that in what you said. Just keep on the high road, my friend, as you're already doing and don't sweat the rest. Best, Sis

    • Tom T profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom T 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Angela Blair - You are always so supportive

      Army Infantry Mom - Thanks for your comments. I don't love Obama in fact I have some real problems with almost every policy he has but I was really trying hard to just put facts out there...Oh well all we can do is keep trying and hope some of the facts eventually get out there.

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 

      9 years ago

      I don't see why your comment would of been deleated unless they were a Obama lover - then in that case I'd see why,.. because God forbid if Obama isn't seen in heavenly light with the hailo on his head. You brought up some important factors regaurding crime rate lowering,..What ever the reason may be,.. I do know its not because of Obama. Good hub,.. Thanks for sharing !!!!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Insightful and interesting Hub - thanks! Best, Sis


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