Republican nominee Donald Trump, now the president-elect, told his party’s convention in July that “decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed.”
But even though violent and property crimes dropped by double-digits between 2008 and 2015, lots of voters think crime is up, Pew found.
Blame it on their gut.
It’s a good example of why Oxford Dictionaries on Wednesday chose “post-truth” as the international word of year.
Basically, it means facts matter less to people than “appeals to emotion and personal belief," Oxford says.
Lots of topics took a beating during the presidential campaign, pummeled by half-truths, manipulated data and people just making stuff up.
If this recent presidential contest did anything, it kept fact-checkers busy 24-7.
Going into the election, 57 percent of voters or those who intended to vote said crime was worse. That took into account more than three-quarters of Trump’s voters and a little more than third of Hillary Clinton’s, according to Pew.
But violent crime dropped 19 percent between 2008 and 2015, and property crime fell further – 23 percent, according to FBI data.
Pew offers several caveats that help solidify perceptions: crime statistics lag a bit, and violent crime has plagued several large cities this year. It also cites a report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law that predicts a 6 percent spike in violent crime in the 30 largest cities.
“But even if those trends materialize, the Brennan report cautions that the violent crime rate ‘remains near the bottom of the nation’s 30-year downward trend,’ ” Pew said.
Usage of “post-truth” first gained momentum this year in rhetoric surrounding the “Brexit” debate over whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. Then came the campaign for president. Usage of the expression shot up 2,000 percent over last year, Oxford Dictionaries said.