Professor John Pfaff shares his expert opinion on the significance of rising homicide rates in an article published by Davis Vanguard.
This week, research released by the nonpartisan California Policy Lab (CPL) shows that “as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted daily lives, crime in California and across the country also changed in dramatic ways.” The report analyzed violent and property crime in 2020 as compared to 2019, and compared California to the rest of the U.S.
Fordham Law Professor John Pfaff pushed back on the fact that many reformers have attempted to downplay the spike in homicides.
“I feel like trying to underplay a historic spike in homicides (and a likely spike in shootings) by pointing out that all OTHER crimes mostly fell is a not a great strategy for reformers,” he tweeted on Monday. He argued, “It actually plays into Tough-on-crime’s hands.
“Crime went down,” he said but “Where the asterisk is… except for the biggest, most politically salient one that terrifies people the most.”
Instead, he argued, “The fact is we should push for reforms BECAUSE homicides spiked. BECAUSE usual approaches have big social costs we don’t measure. BECAUSE there is a better way to address crime WHEN IT RISES.”
He continued, “Invoking the ‘… except for murder’ argument plays RIGHT into the status quo’s hands.”