Sustainability Fact: Surprisingly, crime in Republican and Democratic cities is similar

Credit: Fox News

By Alliance Intern Kaitlyn Scanlon, Oregon State University ‘26

Tired of hearing the age-old Republican claims that crime is only low when they’re in charge? Republicans have repeated this unchallenged talking point so that it has become a widely-accepted belief, thereby striking fear in voters for political gain. However, recent data analyzed by the New York Times’ The Morning paints a different picture. The Times concludes that contrary to the idea that party rule is what determines an area’s crime rates, “it is hard to make much of any connection between political partisanship and crime.  

“In a ranked list of murders for all 20 cities, the three Republican-run cities fall around the middle,” according to the NY Times.Some blue cities — such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle — have roughly half the murder rates as their red counterparts, while the rates in other blue cities, like Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Chicago, are two to three times as high.” This shows just how much variability lies just below the surface of many statistics. 

The Times found that in the largest 20 US cities, ”The 16 run by Democratic mayors had 12.3 murders for every 100,000 people. The three Republican-run cities — Jacksonville, Fort Worth and Oklahoma City — had a rate of 11.4.“ While there is a difference, the sample size is very small and influenced by a number of factors.

It appears there is tremendous variability about the factors influencing violence: poverty, race, access to guns, density, social services and much more. It seems foolish to pigeonhole crime into being decided by partisanship alone. As remarked by the NY Times, “only a few factors are significant enough to make a big difference by themselves — and partisanship is not one of them.”

The Alliance appreciates the NY Times for bringing attention to the true nature of crime in our country. Republicans have fueled a false picture of crime for far too long. It should not remain uncontested. There should be no more playing the blame-game with such a complex issue. Crime in our cities should not be seen as a partisan issue but one that needs to be addressed by both parties and the public, regardless of who’s in power.

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