Psaki Suggests Rapes In Cities, Other Crimes Are Increasing Because Of ‘Gun Violence’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested during Tuesday’s press conference that rapes in cities and other violent crimes were increasing because of gun violence.

“You said, yesterday, the President feels a lot — a great deal of the crime we’re seeing is a result of gun violence, but the stats show it’s not just gun crimes,” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy said. “So why does the President think there’s been a 30 percent increase in car thefts in D.C., 47 percent increase in robbery in New York City, or a 98 percent increase in rapes in Atlanta?”

“Well, first, I think, if you look at a number of cities across the country, it is actually driven by gun violence,” Psaki said in response to Doocy’s question. “Take St. Louis: In 2021, 96 percent of homicides where the instrument is known were committed using a firearm. In New York City, from March 2020 to March 2021, shooting incidents have jumped 77 percent. The city recorded more than 1,500 shootings in 2020; 97 percent more than 777 in 2019. There are major cities across the country where gun violence is absolutely the driver, where it is absolutely increasing. And that will be a central part of what he’ll talk about when he delivers his remarks tomorrow.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

REPORTER: Thanks, Jen. You said, yesterday, the President feels a lot — a great deal of the crime we’re seeing is a result of gun violence, but the stats show it’s not just gun crimes. So why does the President think there’s been a 30 percent increase in car thefts in D.C., 47 percent increase in robbery in New York City, or a 98 percent increase in rapes in Atlanta?
 
PSAKI: Well, first, I think, if you look at a number of cities across the country, it is actually driven by gun violence. Take St. Louis: In 2021, 96 percent of homicides where the instrument is known were committed using a firearm. In New York City, from March 2020 to March 2021, shooting incidents have jumped 77 percent. The city recorded more than 1,500 shootings in 2020; 97 percent more than 777 in 2019. There are major cities across the country where gun violence is absolutely the driver, where it is absolutely increasing. And that will be a central part of what he’ll talk about when he delivers his remarks tomorrow.

REPORTER: And given everything that is going on — with guns, without guns — does the President still think that this is the best time to end cash bail?
 
PSAKI: I don’t think I have a — any new position on that for you, but I’m happy to check and see if there’s anything more to report.
 
REPORTER: So his stated position from his website, which is, basically, end cash bail — he wants to lead a national effort to end cash bail and reform the pretrial system. That stands? 
 
PSAKI: I don’t have a new position for you, but I’m happy to check for you.
 
REPORTER: And so, for people who are watching who might be worried about a rise in crime, what does the President think is a deterrent to committing a crime if there’s no cash bail in place?
 
PSAKI: Well, let me give you just a sense to the degree I can, because we’re still finalizing the specifics. There’s been, one, an increase in violent crime over the last 18 months; it’s not just over the last few months. And actually, if you look statistically back, it’s more over the last five years or so. So there’s an initial set of actions the President has announced to date to address gun violence. Back in April, strengthening regulations on ghost guns; stabilizing braces that make firearms more legal [sic] — lethal; investing money in community violence intervention programs — an investment that he thinks can be quite effective. He’s talked about, for decades — and I think you’ll hear him talk about more tomorrow — supporting additional funding for community policing through his budget request, and helping state and local governments keep co- — cops on the beat. So, yes, we believe that a central driver of violence is gun violence and is the use of guns. We’re seeing that statistically in a lot of areas. But he also believes that we need to ensure that state and local governments keep cops on the beat, that we’re supporting community policing, and that’s a key part of it as well.
 
REPORTER: And just the last one. You just said, again, you guys want to “keep cops on the beat,” but there are reports that big cities are having a very difficult time recruiting officers right now. And there are many other reports that morale is at an all-time low in big police departments. So why does the President think that there’s low morale with police officers on the beat?
 
PSAKI: I don’t think we’re the right entity to give an assessment of that. I’d certainly look to the police departments to give that assessment. But what I would say to you is that the President has never supported defunding the police. He’s always supported community policing programs. He’s supported giving funding to — to states and localities around the country, including through his American Rescue Plan, because he thinks there is an essential role to play for community policing.

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