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Is President Trump Correct In Saying Democrat Mayors Run The Most Violent Cities?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- President Donald Trump this week repeated his false claim that he called out the Minnesota National Guard to crush violent riots in Minneapolis.

It was Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz who did that.

The president also on Aug. 3 put Minneapolis on a list of the most violent cities in America. The country's biggest cities saw violent unrest this summer, including Minneapolis. Since June 23, the president has repeatedly linked violence to cities run by Democrats.

"You hear about certain places like Chicago and you hear about what's going on in Detroit and other, other cities, all Democrat run," Trump said. "Every one of them is Democrat-run. Twenty out of 20. The 20 worst, the 20 most dangerous are Democrat-run."

The president is technically accurate about the mayors in big cities with violent crime: 17 of the 20 are Democrats; two are independent; one is Republican.

But there's no evidence that a specific political party is related to crime.

The president is raising three separate issues here: Big-city crime; political leadership; civil unrest. Let's unpack it.

By a 31-point margin, Democratic voters tend to live in larger urban areas, according to Pew Research, including young people and voters of color.

Republicans by a 16-point margin tend to settle in smaller, more white, more rural communities.

But violent crime is actually going down in American cities, according to the FBI's semi-annual uniform crime report, and Minneapolis is not among the top 20 cities.

While the recent national crime spike leveled off, shootings in Minneapolis are up about 250% compared to last summer. Year-to-year, killings are also up in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

There are new studies that do show a surge in national violence in the last week of May and the first week of June, when protests erupted after George Floyd died in Minneapolis.

  • Homicides are up 37%
  • Aggravated assaults are up 35%
  • Commercial burglaries are up 200%

But after that week, crime abruptly dropped across the country.

As the president made comments linking big city crime to Democrats, the Trump campaign was running television ads against Democrat Joe Biden, showing urban violence and warning, "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

The president appears to be sending a message to white voters in suburbs. But the FBI says it's wrong to line urban crime rates and political parties, calling it misleading, flawed and incomplete.

Here's what the FBI says about ranking cities and the proper use of uniform crime statistics:

These incomplete analyses have often created misleading perceptions which adversely affect geographic entities and their residents. For this reason, the FBI has a longstanding policy against ranking participating law enforcement agencies on the basis of crime data alone. Despite repeated warnings against these practices, some data users continue to challenge and misunderstand this position.

Taking out the politics of a presidential election year, there's no evidence that big city crime is because of Democratic mayors.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

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