Last week, President Donald Trump reasserted a claim that he has leveled throughout his campaign — the murder rate is the highest it’s been for nearly five decades. Back then, the liberal media had a field day with Trump’s assertion. First, they deliberately or unintentionally confused violent crime rate with the murder rate — the two are similar, yet also completely different. Second, the liberal media conflated the murder rate with the nominal murder figure. Such erroneous assumptions can lead to drastically different conclusions.
It was a highly frustrating period for those that have a basic understanding of mathematical and statistical principles. And yet, the liberal media pounced on Donald Trump once again with the same old tactics. Perhaps the most egregious example was a heated exchange that occurred on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” One of Maher’s guests, Piers Morgan, insisted that while the actual murder figure was trending down, in 2015, the murder rate over 2014 figures went up substantially. Hence, Donald Trump’s remarks.
However, Maher was having none of the logic. He insisted that all violent crime statistics showed a downward trend. Unfortunately for his ego, Maher is incorrect, and Morgan is spot on. What the eccentric host of Real Time failed to account for was that he was looking at a nominal, aggregate chart — if one person is murdered, that’s plus-one. If another person is murdered, that’s plus-two.
Morgan, on the other hand, was referring to the derivative of the nominal chart. If one person was murdered in 2014, and two people were murdered in 2015, that’s a murder rate increase of 100%. It doesn’t matter if 300 people were murdered in 2013 if the comparison is only looking at the years 2014 and 2015. Furthermore, there will always be more violent crime than murders. So the inclusion of other crimes into the murder statistic could potentially skew the overall violent crime picture.
But here’s why I think Donald Trump keeps rehashing the violent crime issue. Between 2010 through the end of 2014, the murder rate was -1.6%. In 2015, the figure jumped to nearly 11%! Within this decade, we have seen a pure dichotomy of crime eroding to crime increasing.
Parallel this trend to the discipline of technical analysis. If we were to consider the nominal violent crime statistic as a stock price, we would say that violent crime has charted a bearish head-and-shoulders pattern between 1980 to 2008. Such patterns result in a downfall, and we experienced as such during the aftermath of the Great Recession.
But stocks have a tendency of bouncing back from the head-and-shoulders. Now that the correction in the violent crime figure has apparently bottomed, crime, specifically the murder rate, is on a “bullish” trend channel. That’s disturbing — and why shouldn’t Donald Trump raise an alarm? He is now our commander-in-chief, and it is his responsibility to do whatever he can to stem the tide.
Unfortunately, I’m not really sure that he can do much about the criminal element that’s rising. Still, the liberal media is doing no favors to us by constantly attacking the messenger, and not addressing the message.