Testimony Before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Rafael A. Mangual testified in a hearing entitled Racial Disparities in Violent Crime Victimization in the United States.
I’d like to thank the Commission once again for the invitation to submit a written statement and offer in-person remarks on what may very well be one of the most important public policy problems of our time: Criminal violence, and the extent to which it disproportionately impacts black and Latino residents living in already-vulnerable neighborhoods. The reason this may very well be among the most pressing policy problems facing the country today is that, after nearly a quarter-century of consistent progress on the public safety front, the last several years have seen marked increases in violent victimization. And this—the fact that violent crime (especially gun violence) has gotten worse in recent years—is the first of three points I’d like to make in this statement.
Nationally, in 2015 and 2016, murders rose nearly 11% and 8%, respectively. The national homicide rate declined slightly in 2017 and 2018, before ticking upward in 2019. In 2020, the nation saw its largest single-year spike in homicides in at least 100 years—which was followed by another increase in murders in 2021, according to CDC data and FBI estimates. In the last few years, a number of cities have seen murders hit an all-time high. Much of this has been driven by a spike in fatal shootings.
Rafael Mangual is the Nick Ohnell Fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. He is also the author of Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most.