In April of 2021, this Substack published a piece, The ultimate price of costless gestures, that anticipated a spate of articles in the second half of the year in the mainstream media reporting on the rise of murders in 2020. Compare the figure from the Substack piece with one in The New York Times published in November of 2021:
The similarity is simply a function of the fact that the graphs draw upon the same underlying data, aggregated reports by the FBI from local police departments. This underscores that the data is out there if people choose to analyze and talk about it, something that did not occur for much of 2020.
Today on the Unsupervised Learning podcast, Razib talks to Charles Fain Lehman, a fellow at The Manhattan Institute who works on the Policing and Public Safety initiative and is also a contributing editor of City Journal (here are two articles Razib has contributed to the publication). Lehman, who has a background in data analysis and was previously a writer for The Washington Free Beacon, where he wrote Why Can’t We Talk About the Murder Wave? In contrast to many journalists and analysts, he does not fear talking about crime, and he and Razib discuss the magnitude of the current murder spike (modest) and its possible abatement and the strange decoupling of homicide rates from other forms of violent crime. Lehman also explains that localities over the last few years have begun to hold back their traditional data reporting from the FBI, making more recent analyses very difficult. Razib also reflects on his memories of the late 20th-century crime wave that peaked in 1990, four years before Lehman was born.