NTK Fact Check: Does Cory Booker Deserve Credit for Newark’s Crime Rate? NTK Fact Check: Does Cory Booker Deserve Credit for Newark’s Crime Rate? – NTK Network

NTK Fact Check: Does Cory Booker Deserve Credit for Newark’s Crime Rate?

Booker took credit for Newark’s declining crime rate during an interview Wednesday, but does he actually deserve it?

By NTK Staff | 10.04.2018 @12:00pm

THE CLAIM: “The reality is so glorious right now about what’s happening in Newark [and the] Newark Valley. We’re at a 50-year low in crime, New Yorkers are pouring in, trying to buy up real estate, restauranteurs are coming in. I don’t blink when someone tries to take me on that way.”

During an interview Wednesday with American Urban Radio Networks, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) appeared to take credit for Newark, N.J.’s declining crime rate. The issue came up when White House correspondent April Ryan asked Booker about President Donald Trump criticizing the senator during a political rally earlier this week.

“Understanding who Donald Trump is and understanding what he does, President Donald Trump, when he was candidate Donald Trump, he smeared Hillary Clinton, ‘Crooked Hillary,’ it stuck,” Ryan said. “He said you ran Newark, New Jersey in[to] the ground.”

Ryan then asked Booker, who served as mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013, if he planned to respond, particularly given the fact that he may run for president in 2020.

In response, Booker rattled off a series of accomplishments, starting with the fact that it’s rare for a mayor to make the leap to U.S. Senate.

But then Booker began touting Newark’s accomplishments.

“The reality is so glorious right now about what’s happening in Newark [and the] Newark Valley,” he said. “We’re at a 50-year low in crime, New Yorkers are pouring in, trying to buy up real estate, restauranteurs are coming in. I don’t blink when someone tries to take me on that way.”

CHECKING THE CLAIM: This is where things get murky: Booker appears to be taking credit for Newark’s current positive trend, and it’s true that crime is going down in Newark. At the end of 2016, crime in New Jersey’s largest city was at a nearly 50-year low.

But the same NJ.com story highlighting 2016’s low crime rate also notes that three years prior, at the end of Booker’s term as mayor, “Newark had the third highest murder rate” in the nation, according to FBI statistics.

A bloody 2013 has placed Newark near the top of the list of large U.S. cities with the highest rates of murder and other violent crime.

According to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime report, released last week, the Brick City had a murder rate of 40 per 100,000 people, which placed it third in the country behind only Detroit and New Orleans, and ahead of other notoriously violent metropolises such as St. Louis, Baltimore and Oakland.

Making matters worse for Booker, a 2016 Politico profile of the former mayor noted that crime rates in Newark were falling before he took office but began to creep up under his watch.

Crime rates, which were, in fact, falling before Booker was elected, began to creep back up. By 2013, with Newark’s population at 278,246, there were 3,516 violent crimes and 112 killings, both figures higher than when he took office. The city’s murder rate put it behind only Detroit and New Orleans.

RATING: With the way he phrased his response to Ryan, Booker is clearly trying to have his cake and eat it, too. The facts show that crime rose during Booker’s tenure as mayor, reaching a peak in 2013, the year he left his post as mayor and began his Senate career. Since then, crime has indeed gone down, but it took several years for Booker’s successors to right the ship. To claim credit for Newark’s current crime rate is deeply misleading.

We rate Booker’s claim, Fake News.

NOTE: NTK Network’s Fact Check scale ranges from “Very Fake News,” for the most egregious false claims, to “Fake News,” “Mostly Fake News,” and, for claims that check out, “Mostly Real News” and “Real News.”

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