Another day, another “alternative fact” from Donald Trump, this time about a rise in recorded crime rates in the United Kingdom. President Trump must have been up early today as he took to Twitter to make an outrageous and totally false claim about crime rates in Britain. Trump shared a Twitter message that said: “United Kingdom crime rises 13 percent annually amid the spread of Radical Islamic terror. Not good, we must keep America safe!” It would seem that President Trump didn’t actually read the report because his comments are wildly wide of the mark.
The report that Trump refers to was released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics. It makes for some interesting reading. The report makes clear that the 13 percent rise in recorded crime is due to a change in the many U.K. police forces record crimes, especially hate crime and domestic violence. Trump clearly implies that the rise is due to Islamic terrorism. Perhaps ironically, one area where crime has increased substantially is in hate crime against Muslim families.
Trump ignored the report by the far more comprehensive British Crime Survey, which actually recorded a nine percent fall in crime in the United Kingdom. The first report only refers to crime recorded by police, while the British Crime Survey covers all people’s experiences with crime, even those where police are not involved.
Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
Here’s a little fact check. As reported by the Guardian, President Trump might like to reflect on just how safe America is when compared to the United Kingdom. Over the past 12-months, there were 629 homicides in England and Wales in a population of 53 million people. Chicago, with a population of 2.7 million had more murders, 758, than all of England and Wales combined. As pointed out by the Independent, there were 35 deaths in the U.K. as a result of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.
That means that five percent of homicides in the U.K. were as the result of terrorism. Compare those figures with the 59 killed and over 500 wounded by Stephen Paddock during the recent massacre in Las Vegas. President Trump would also do well to reflect on the gun-related homicide figures in the USA. According to Gun Violence Archive, 12,372 people have been killed and over 25,000 injured in gun violence so far this year.
As reported by the Telegraph, there has been an increase in both attempted murder and knife crime in the U.K., this is largely due to the way that those crimes are recorded. For example, multiple counts of attempted murder were recorded by the police after the terrorist attack at the Ariane Grande concert in Manchester. Of course, any increase in crime is worrying, but Donald Trump has absolutely no evidence to back up his claim that rising crime rates are the result of Islamic terrorism.
Trump’s claims have no basis in fact. This echoes Trump’s claims about a non-existent Islamic terrorist attack that he mentioned in Sweden. On that occasion, Trump’s White House press team explained his comments away as “alternative facts.” Just as his claims about London mayor Sadiq Khan, in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack were “alternative facts.” In those instances, many have argued that Trump is deliberately misrepresenting facts to gain support for his anti-Islam agenda. However, sadly, these latest claims by Trump are not the only case of “alternative facts” he has presented today.
No one will have missed the furor over President Trump’s comments to the family of Sgt Johnson who was killed in Niger. In the wake of a wave of criticism Trump praised himself by saying that he had contacted all of the families of those killed in action since he took office. Sadly even this is untrue.
According to the Independent, Associated Press contacted the families of all 43 U.S. military personnel who have been killed since Trump took office. Nine of those families claim that Donald Trump has not contacted them, the same number who said that he had. The remainder did not wish to disclose whether or not Trump had been in contact.
If Donald Trump, the Commander-in-Chief, is willing to present “alternative facts” about Gold Star families, and to continually insult the USA’s oldest and closest ally, where will it all end? Sometimes it seems that we are all living in an alternate reality under the leadership of Donald J. Trump.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]