Monday, August 13, 2007

Chris Matthews, host of Hardball on MSNBC, this evening continued his role as unofficial campaign chairman of Giuliani for President. In a group discussion of Giuliani's prospects, Matthews stated "anybody that can end crime as a menacing factor, a big factor of life in the big cities, is going to be a hereo, even to people who don't live in the cities." So let's take a look at the reduction of crime Rudy G. allegedly brought about.
The crime rate (as measured by incidents per 100,000 inhabitants) did in fact decline during Mr. Giuliani's tenure in office, from early 1994 to early 2002. However, this chart, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report, indicates that nationally the violent crime rate in 1993 was 747.1; the property crime rate, 4740.0; and the "crime index total," 5487.1. The latter two categories then proceeded to decline each year through 2001, and the property crime rate in each year except from 2000 to 2001 (which saw a small rise). Meanwhile, this graph demonstrates that while nationally, the rate of crime during Giuliani's tenure dropped, it may have have plummeted in big cities- for example, in Los Angeles; somewhat more in New York City; and far more in Newark, N.J. And I don't remember anyone crediting the recently-indicted Sharpe James, who served as mayor from 1986 to 2001, as a heroic crime-buster.
Pushing Giuliani now as a latter-day Elliot Ness may be particularly timely, given that his mythical reputation as the "hero of 9/11" suffered another blow by the recent Village Voice article, written by Wayne Barrett, entitled "Rudy's Five Big Lies About 9/11." So don't blame Matthews; hopefully, the Giuliani spin will fool enough primary voters and eventually give HRC (or one of the guys) a target even bigger than Rudy's ego.

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