President Donald Trump inflated the U.S. murder rate during his meeting with sheriffs Tuesday, saying it was the highest it’s been in nearly a half century.
“The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years. I used to use that — I’d say that in a speech and everybody was surprised because the press doesn’t tell it like it is,” Trump said, adding, “The murder rate is the highest it’s been in, I guess, from 45 to 47 years.”
As it turns out Trump’s comments are simply not true. While preliminary reports showed a slight uptick in violent crime in 2016 with a 5.7 percent increase from the year before, it’s still at a historic low.
In 2015, which is the last full year in which the numbers are available, the murder rate was 4.9 murders per 100,000 people and the lowest it has been in half a century.
It is true that the 2015 murder rate rose from the 2014 rate, which was 4.4 murders per 100,000. That increase was the largest in decades.
Trump has misstated crime statistics on a couple of other occasions as well. Last month, the president said the murder rate in Philadelphia had greatly increased, even though it slightly decreased in 2015. While the city’s murder rate did rise in the previous two years, it still remained much lower than past decades.
Trump also claimed that two people were “shot and killed” in Chicago during former President Barack Obama’s farewell speech, but police records show no one was fatally shot in Chicago that day.