Crime, on the tip of everyone’s tongue ahead of the midterms

By Jorge Dastis

Baltimore, US, Oct 27 (EFE).- With the United States midterm elections looming, the country’s TV sets are awash with Republican ads accusing the Democrats of being “soft on crime.”

Violence, and the alleged indifference of the Democratic Party, has become a ubiquitous tool in the Republicans bid to take control of Congress.

Their concerns are not unjustified — according to recent electoral studies, security is among the top concerns of US voters, behind only inflation and the economy.

Recent surveys made by the Pew Research Center and Ipsos show that the number of people that believe conservative candidates are better qualified than their opponents to fight crime is growing.

Security is a major concern for the residents of Baltimore, Maryland. The city is notorious for its high crime rates. In 2021, it ranked second in the country for homicides per capita (nearly 60 per 100,000 residents) after St. Louis, Missouri.

Jeffrey Ian Ross, a criminologist at the University of Baltimore, told Efe that the city shares some key features with other high-crime, large US cities: a very active criminal subculture and a high presence of firearms.

Local residents believe that association between some Democrats and movements like Defund the Police will damage the party in the elections slated for November 8. “I think the Democrats are going to take a big hit this year,” Michael Salconi, an actor who happened to play a role in famous Baltimore series The Wire, told Efe in an interview.

He added: “Mainly because of what they did in stating their policies when they first came into office (…) specifically this notion of Defunding the Police. Most people want security, especially in a city like Baltimore.”

For Jesse, a professor at Fresh Start who is not planning to vote in the election, said the main issue with crime is that social care “has been taken out of communities to rebuild and sustain themselves.“Once you take the care out and you move people from poor neighborhoods to other neighborhoods where they are already not welcome, the crime just continues to move around,” he added.

According to Ross, the origins of this “perfect storm” can be traced back to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police in 2020 and the surge of Black Lives Matter, which is highly critical of police.EFEjdg/aef/jt

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