Violent Crime in South Bend Doubled During Mayor Pete’s Tenure
While the youngest on the field by far, Pete Buttigieg proved on the debate stage last Friday (yes, there actually was a debate) that he was just as adept at dodging questions as any seasoned politician.
During a discussion on race, one of the debate moderators asked Buttigieg about why the disparity in black arrests relative to white arrests for drug crimes increased under his leadership as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg tried to dodge the question by arguing that rates of drug arrest are lower in South Bend than the rest of the nation – which the moderator quickly shot down by pointing out the irrelevance of that answer when the fact is that they still rose under his tenure. After Buttigieg then deflected entirely in the rest of his answer, the moderator asked Warren “Was that answer substantial from Mayor Buttigieg?” which drew immediate laughter from the audience (and a swift “no” from Warren).
And there’s a good reason he doesn’t want to talk about how record in South Bend.
While the discussion at the town hall focused mainly on his police department disproportionately arresting minorities for drug offenses – an even greater issue the city faced in regards to policing was how effective they were at fighting crime.
Just take a look at the chart below of violent crimes per 100,000 people in South Bend. From the point Buttigieg took office violent crimes roughly doubled from trough to peak. Even if we were to measure from before the dip in violent crime before he took office (which could just be due to variance), we’re still looking at a roughly 75% increase.
Responsible for most of the increase is an increase in rapes and aggregated assaults, while homicide and robbery rates have remained mostly constant.
As the Washington Free Beacon’s Charles Fan Lehman and Nic Rowan write:
The rise in aggravated assaults is likely driven by Buttigieg’s failure to encourage “proactive policing,” former Common Council president Derek Dieter told the Washington Free Beacon. A former South Bend police officer himself, Dieter said that South Bend’s decision under the Buttigieg administration to cut its drug unit and traffic bureau cut down the department’s ability to take preventative measures against violent crime.
“Probably 50 percent or more of drug and gun arrests are through traffic stops,” Dieter said. “If people know they’re not going to get stopped, they know they can get away with it.”
In addition, Dieter said the lack of interaction with police officers and the communities they serve outside of criminal confrontations engenders a mutual disrespect between the two groups.
It would interesting to ask Buttigieg why he thought those sort of policies would be effective – but then again – it’s not like we can expect an answer!