The pandemic of sars coronavirus and the racial unrest that disrupt the United States have generated an extraordinary increase in urban violence. Never seen since the 90’s. Under the theme of “Law and Order“, Trump uses this violence in the hope that it will ensure his re-election.
The COVID-19 exacerbates the root causes of violence in this country where firearms are virtually in free circulation. The health crisis has exacerbated the endemic problems that underlie the violence, armed gangs of young blacks of the urban ghettos: racism, poverty, unemployment, drugs, the accessibility of firearms and single-parent families.
In Chicago, homicides have jumped 39% during the last week of June and the first week of July compared to last year. In Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, d.c., black children have been victims of stray bullets in the crossfire between rival gangs. In New York, a one year old baby was shot and killed in his stroller while his family picnicking in a park.
In New York, the homicide rate for the first half of the year increased by 23%, while arrests have dropped by 62% compared to last year. The arrests for possession of firearms decreased by 67%, and shootings skyrocket. Those for trafficking or possession of narcotic drugs dropped by 85%. The arrests made by the anti-gang unit of the City have decreased by 90%.
This increased violence has aroused the indignation of the elected representatives of poor neighborhoods, who accuse the police of “passivity” in retaliation to the hostility of the population to their place. The police would limit their interventions in response to protests against police brutality and systemic racism that erupted after the assassination of George Floyd in the hands of the police of Minneapolis.
The executives of the municipal police forces recognize that the police are reluctant to make arrests for fear of being the object of denunciations of racial discrimination and to face disciplinary investigations. One of the leaders of the New York police department, Terence A. Monahan, said in a radio interview that many agents fear being arrested if they take measures that are “proactive” against criminals. Police officers who know the red-light districts are reluctant in effect to make checks on individuals suspected of possessing a concealed weapon, for fear of being accused of racial profiling, or worse, being involved in a shooting resulting in the death of the suspect.
In addition, the release of thousands of inmates in u.s. prisons overcrowded to contain the spread of the coronavirus has contributed to worsen the cycle of violence by firearms in referring to these criminals in the streets. At the same time, a large number of specialized investigators in the suppression of street gangs have been reassigned to patrols of social distancing or redeployed for the control of events antipolicières.
The morale of the peace officers is at its lowest. Across the United States, thousands of police officers have decided to retire or resign.
These dramatic conditions can only get worse until the elections of November. The crime is certainly not going to decrease as if by magic. And Trump, by deploying federal agents in several major cities, escalating deliberately the situation. This is what he is looking for. Bring to voters, panicked by the urban violence, to vote for him.