Home Biden Crime Pro-Crime recent Fact Check: Biden’s Myth of the Lowest Crime Rate in 50 Years
Home Biden Crime Pro-Crime recent Fact Check: Biden’s Myth of the Lowest Crime Rate in 50 Years

Fact Check: Biden’s Myth of the Lowest Crime Rate in 50 Years

“Last year, the United States had one of the lowest rates of all violent crime — of all violent crimes in more than 50 years. Murder, rape — murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery all dropped sharply, along with burglary, property crime, and theft,” Biden recently proclaimed at a White House law enforcement event.

And then he claimed credit for it.

While Biden has a history of making things up, this particular one has been slowly making its way through the media which is also composed of the only people who could possibly believe it.

The original source for the claim that the United States had the lowest crime rate in 50 years came from the substack blog of Jeff Asher, a 30-something former federal employee who set up his own consulting and analytics firm that helps create “a more equitable criminal justice system” which is a term often used for the pro-crime policies that led to the high crime rates.

Asher had popped up in pro-crime media outlets back in 2020 to dismiss the idea that pro-crime policies had caused a surge in violent crime. In one op-ed, Asher blamed, “increased domestic violence early in the pandemic, warmer weather, or just plain randomness”. Now Asher is back and arguing that we’re enjoying “the lowest violent crime rate nationally since 1969.”

And his claim appears to have ended up in a president’s mouth.

There are some obvious problems with Asher’s thesis. Forget 1969. The FBI recorded 16,214 murders in 2018. While a story about Asher and his firm says that they expect “homicides overall to fall from 21,156 last year to around 18,450 this year.”

Asher admits that, “murder was almost certainly still higher in 2023 than in 2019 even with a record double-digit decline nationally this year, but not by much.”

Biden is bragging about the “lowest crime rate in 50 years” that includes thousands more murders than not all that long ago under Trump.

But Asher argues that, “Detroit is on pace to have the fewest murders since 1966”. That would be more impressive if not for the fact that there were over 1.5 million people living in Motor City in 1966 and there are some 600,000 still living there now.

There were 252 murders in Detroit in 2023, that’s a little more than the 232 murders in 1966, but the actual per capita murder rate is much higher because the population is much lower. Detroit has actually gone from 15 murders per 100,000 to 41 murders per 100,000.

Any statistical analyst who writes the sentence that “Detroit is on pace to have the fewest murders since 1966” without a massive qualifier is triggering more red flags than the USSR.

Virtually all of the media’s reporting on the good news about crime rates has come from Asher and AH Datalytics. Relying on a single source for reporting on a national phenomenon would have traditionally been frowned upon, but the media has long since discarded such journalistic hangups. And media outlets have asked Asher no substantive questions about his research.

Nor do they wonder when an expert describes the reduction in crime rates as a mystery.

Asher tends to argue that there’s no explanation because he’s ignoring the obvious causes. “The national murder rate reached a modern low in 2014, capping a quarter-century decline. Then it rose across the United States in 2015 and 2016. Why gun violence increased in those two years remains somewhat of a mystery, and no single factor is likely to explain it, but there is one potential contributor that is rarely talked about: the weather,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed. A likelier explanation than the weather might have been the Ferguson riots in 2014.

Crime rates are not a mystery. We know what caused them and what causes them to drop.

Baltimore, another of Asher’s success stories, is claiming that murders have dropped sharply. There were 262 murders in Baltimore in 2023. That is down from 334, but it’s still a ways from 211 in 2014. In 2015, as the Freddie Gray riots swept through the city, incited by pro-crime politicians and activists, and Baltimore’s homicides jumped massively to 342.

After a decade of violence, Baltimore’s murders may finally be approaching what they were in 2014. It’s a dubious success story that fails to mention the obvious cause of the killings.

The violence helped lead to a 6% drop in Baltimore’s population from 2010 to 2020. With 35,000 fewer people, Baltimore’s per capita murder rate is actually higher than it would appear.

Asher is basing his large claims off FBI statistics. And those statistics are highly suspect.

The FBI’s data collection methods had changed at the same time as it began reporting a sudden drop in the crime rate and the numbers appear to have been massaged by various pro-crime think tanks and organizations. Thousands of police agencies are no longer having their data incorporated into the FBI’s statistics and it’s hard to believe that this isn’t linked to the drop.

And there are even more blatant ways of suppressing crime rate statistics.

Mayor Brandon Johnson, Chicago’s radical pro-crime boss, is shutting down the ShotSpotter program that helped police track shootings. While Johnson has made some of the familiar pro-crime arguments against ShotSpotter, the real trouble with the tool is that it raises crime rates by alerting police to incidents that would otherwise not have been reported. Past surveys have suggested that only 1 in 10 incidents intercepted by ShotSpotter led to a call to the police. Imagine how crime rates will drop after ShotSpotter is gone and how Johnson will take credit.

Another story from The Atlantic promoting Asher’s claims of low crime rates contrasted with the decline in police forces suggested that defunding the cops doesn’t affect crime rates. It’s more likely that historic police cuts have led to lower police responses and lower crime rates. That’s not because crimes aren’t being committed, they’re just not going into the database.

Police responses have slowed down in some places while in others patrols have been canceled and officers have stopped responding to entire categories of calls. Pittsburgh recently announced that it won’t respond to 911 calls that aren’t “in progress emergencies” such as thefts or burglaries. And, predictably, Pittsburgh appears on Asher’s list of success stories.

Why don’t people believe Asher? Because, according to Asher, “people are bad at perceiving crime trends.” And the media has gone with this angle that people are stupid and ignorant.

NBC News trumpeted Asher’s claims with the headline, “Most people think the U.S. crime rate is rising. They’re wrong.” The Atlantic argued that, “in surveys, most Americans say that crime and inflation are still rising, but they’re wrong… the twin crises largely evaporated, and no one is totally sure why.” When a crisis goes away and no one is sure why, that’s because it didn’t.

Multiple media outlets championed Asher’s claims and argued that the public was worried about crime because “some candidates lean into ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric that doesn’t necessarily match reality” (Axios) like Trump’s “fear-based appeals on crime” (The Atlantic).

But if the public was prone to believing things just because politicians and media outlets tell them so, shouldn’t “more than three-quarters of the public” believe that crime is dropping?

And yet the experts, or in this case, one expert had spoken.

Statistics can be a useful tool, but they only show part of the picture. The FBI crime data represents a final dumping ground for statistics from a large number of law enforcement agencies that can be put together in different ways to tell multiple stories. Data reflects primarily the means by which it is gathered, law enforcement, and then put together, but the real origin point for all that data is with the ordinary people whom Asher and the media dismiss.

When crime victims no longer bother to call 911, when the police no longer go out because there are no officers and there’s no point, when crimes are underreported and undercharged, the public still knows what’s going on even if the data no longer shows up at police departments.

In an NPR interview, Asher responded to a survey showing that “more than three quarters of Americans believe there’s more crime in the country” with the condescending reply, “the only way that I find to discuss it with people is to talk about, this is what the data says. You know, you’re wrong. And then I’ll take out my phone and say, look, here’s a chart, for the graphic learners.” Whom are you going to believe, Asher’s phone or your own eyes?

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.


  1. You at your best Mr G.
    So obvious when you lay it out like this, so many of us are dulled and battered enough to despair in the blizzard of lies from the likes of this clown.
    No excuse not to know now, the principles you lay out read across to so much more
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you. The lies keep coming and have to be shot down.

  2. Anonymous1/4/24


  3. Anonymous1/4/24

    Funny how many of the people advocating about the alleged reduction in violent crime based on FBI data are the same who complain about “underreporting” the alleged “actual” incident rate of “Islamophobic” crimes, especially in comparison to antisemitic crimes.

  4. Anonymous1/4/24

    A truism: Figure lie, and Liars figure.
    Ozarks Tom

  5. Anonymous1/4/24

    Having recently read Kenneth Green's book, "The Plague of Models: How Computer Modeling Corrupted Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulations", I have a good idea how they arrived at this bright idea.


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