Poll: More Americans think rising crime is a bigger problem compared to COVID-19

More Americans say violent crime is a bigger problem than COVID-19 currently, according to a Yahoo News poll.

The survey of 1,588 U.S. adults, which occurred from May 24 to May 26, found that just 32% of them describe COID-19 as a very big problem, down from 61% from last July. The percentage who believe violent crime is a very big problem is now 49, making it a higher concern than the economy (39%), political correctness (39%), and race relations (41%). This new trend in the data is most likely due to the mass COVID-19 vaccinations and the lowest hospitalizations levels in months, while violent crime has been rising.

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A recent report by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice found that homicides across 32 U.S. cities went up 24% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020. Aggravated assaults went up 7% and gun assault rates went up 22%. 65% of Americans believe violent crime is increasing, including 76% of Republicans, 68% of independents, and 63% of Democrats, according to the Yahoo News poll. The share of Americans who view race relations as a “very big problem” in the U.S. is now 13% lower than it was last July. Among Republicans, the number fell 10% (to 23%), among independents it fell 12% (to 37%), and among Democrats the percentage fell 15 points (to 57%).

More Americans who believe violent crime is increasing blame “the racial justice movement” itself (57%) than blame joblessness (44%), systemic racism (40%), or the pandemic (35%). Last June, 60% of Americans told Yahoo News that there is a systemic racism problem in policing, while 63% said there was a problem with systemic racism in America. Today the numbers are 51% and 55%, respectively. While 57% of Americans had a favorable view of Black Lives Matter last June (with 33% unfavorable), today 45% of Americans view BLM unfavorably with 43% viewing BLM positively.

“Violent crime is significantly higher, and murders … are through the roof,” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the GOP’s lead police-reform negotiator, said Thursday. “You cannot demonize officers, take away their resources and expect them to do the job that needs to be done.” Experts argue whether progressive reforms and critical rhetoric have played any role in encouraging violence, they tend to cite the pandemic and record gun sales as more likely factors. The issue could disturb Democrats going forward. More Americans (34% against 32%) and independents (39% against 23%) say former President Trump is better at handling crime than President Biden.



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