Mr. Sessions acknowledges that crime rates are near historic lows:
Overall, crime rates in the United States remain near historic lows. Murder rates are half of what they were in 1980. The rate of violent crime has fallen by almost half from its peak in the early 1990s.
In other words, since about the same time as we started legalizing medical marijuana, we’ve seen crime rates fall.
But the past two years have shown that trend reversing:
The latest FBI official data tell us that from 2014 to 2015, the violent crime rate in the U.S. increased by more than 3 percent - the largest one-year increase since 1991. The murder rate increased 11 percent - the largest increase since 1968. The rape rate increased by over 4 percent, and the aggravated assault rate rose by nearly 4 percent.
If this was a one-year spike, we might not worry too much. But the preliminary data for the first half of 2016 confirmed these trends. The number of violent crimes in the first half of last year was more than 5 percent higher than the same period in 2015. The number of murders was also up 5 percent over the same period the year before, and aggravated assaults rose as well.
Mr. Sessions then points back to a time in history when there was a similar rise in crime rates:
In the early 1960s, crime began to rise in our country; by 1973, crime rates in almost every category – violent crime, murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and car thefts – had doubled over where they were just a decade before. And as the 1970s went on, levels of crime and violence that we once deemed unacceptably high became the “new normal” in America.
I guess he’s got a point – there were a lot of crooks in the 1970s.
Then Mr. Sessions pivots to equate current drug addiction issues to the current short-term rise in crime rates, building an implied correlation to the rise of drug culture in the late 1960s and 1970s.
We know that our nation is in the throes of a heroin epidemic, with overdose deaths more than tripling between 2010 and 2014. Meanwhile, illegal drugs flood across our southern border and into cities and towns across our country, bringing violence, addiction and misery.
Mr. Sessions wraps it up by promising a return to the federal War on Drugs:
In that same five-year period, federal drug prosecutions declined by 18 percent.
Under my leadership at the Department of Justice, this trend will end.
And eschewing the recent move to reduce mass incarceration:
Yes, incarceration is painful for the families of inmates, and every conviction represents a failure on multiple levels of society. But the costs of rising crime are even more severe. Drug crimes and violent felonies change the lives of victims forever.
In the midst of a terrible heroin epidemic and a rise in violent crime, we should not roll back the tools law enforcement has to go after federal drug trafficking and firearms felons, or release thousands more.
We will work to take down drug trafficking cartels and dismantle gangs.
While indicating that the recent federal investigations and punishments of racist police departments is coming to an end:
Unfortunately, in recent years law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors.[R]ather than dictating to local police how to do their jobs – or spending scarce federal resources to sue them in court – we should use our money, research and expertise to help them figure out what is happening and determine the best ways to fight crime.
Hm, it makes you wonder how those few bad actors were able to continue working for a department when surrounded by all those fine, upstanding cops in law enforcement as a whole, doesn’t it?
Keep that in mind when Mr. Sessions starts using scarce federal resources to sue state-legal marijuana producers and sellers in court while racist cops go untouched by the feds.