Mitt's Woeful Crime Record

As the Daniel Tavares Jr. double-murder tragedy continues to dog Mitt Romney on the campaign trial, it's worth revisiting and updating some data that the Phoenix uncovered a year ago, in the midst of then-Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey's attempt to portray gubernatorial opponent Deval Patrick as soft on violent crime.

That data, from the US Justice Department's Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, showed that the arrest rates for violent crime in Massachusetts -- below the national average to begin with -- plummeted after the Romney/Healey administration took office in January 2003.

In 2006, the state's arrest rates for murder, robbery, and aggravated assault have rebounded, while the rate for rape remains very low -- the national average is just under 30%. This might be evidence for the theory mentioned in my previous article, that placed the blame on state local-aid budget cuts; 2006 saw that trend reversed, and local aid restored.

As for the rates of the crimes themselves, the number of aggravated assaults continued to decline in 2006, but other violent crimes increased or held steady.

Here are the arrest rates for violent crimes, for the three years prior to Romney (2000-'02) and the three subsequent years ('03-'05), as reported in that article -- along with the 2006 numbers released this October:

                 '00-'02   '03-'05   '06
Murder       48%       26%      40%
Rape          26%      14%      17%
Robbery       23%      11%      24%
Agg.Assault  48%      29%      49%

And here are the crime rates (per 100,000 population) for those same periods:

                '00-'02   '03-'05   '06
Murder      2.3         2.6         2.9
Rape         28         28         27
Robbery      102      120         125
Agg.Assault 350      312        292

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