O'Reilly Factor guest claimed violent crime rising under Baltimore Mayor O'Malley; FBI numbers show otherwise

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

As a guest on FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, conservative radio host Chip Franklin attempted to criticize Baltimore's Democratic mayor, Martin O'Malley, by falsely claiming that "[v]iolent crime is up" and that "[m]urders are up every year" in Baltimore. In fact, violent crime -- including murder -- has decreased in Baltimore since O'Malley took office.

From the June 29 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Baltimore is an overwhelmingly Democratic city. And this guy O'Malley was elected at age 36 with a 91 percent plurality, but he has done some pretty daffy things since being in office, correct?

FRANKLIN: Oh, you remember back during the anthrax scare, OK? He wanted to like shut down the city at the very same time that President Bush had sent his wife in to read to the school children. I mean, none of the stuff -- he's really out of -- he's out of touch. And he's ignoring the fact that the city -- the real problem in the city is to walk some of the streets. Violent crime is up there. Murders are up every year.

O'REILLY: Yes, we have had some of the most horrendous crimes ever committed in Baltimore.

Yet according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Unified Crime Reports for 2000 and 2003, violent crimes -- which include murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault -- in Baltimore (that were reported to law enforcement officials) declined from 16,003 in 2000 (O'Malley's first year in office) to 13,789 in 2003. There were 261 murders in Baltimore in 2000; 256 in 2001; 253 in 2002; and 270 in 2003*. In a February 22, 2004, article analyzing O'Malley's political trajectory, Washington Post reporter Tim Craig noted that although "Baltimore continues to be one of the most dangerous cities in the country, according to various federal and private studies," the city's violent crime rate "has dropped by 37 percent" since O'Malley was elected mayor in 1999.

Chip Franklin's Baltimore-based radio program airs weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon (ET) on WBAL 1090 AM, which broadcasts throughout Maryland. The talk radio trade publication TALKERS Magazine included Franklin in its list of America's 100 most important radio talk show hosts for 2004.

*Correction: When this item was first published, it incorrectly stated that there were only 253 murders in Baltimore in 2003. In fact, 253 is the figure for 2002, while the correct figure for 2003 is 270. [back to article]

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Crime
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