Monday, October 27, 2014

Wisconsin less safe under Walker's watch, concealed carry

Statistical analysis of crime data exposes crime rise in state during national plateau

In 2010, the year before Gov. Scott Walker took office, there were 97 gun related homicides in the state of Wisconsin.

This week, according to Wisconsin Public Radio, we’ve already reached that number for the year, with 65 days still remaining in 2014. If we keep up the current pace we should reach 118 gun homicides by the end of the year.

What has happened to have made Wisconsin (if it keeps this pace) surpass a 20 percent increase in annual gun-related homicides from 2010 to the present? Funding to police departments fell, in large part due to cuts to localities imposed by the Walker administration:
The governor's first budget, passed in 2011, delivered the single largest cut to shared revenue in a decade — $76 million, or 9 percent. Walker also imposed strict limits on local governments' ability to raise property taxes to make up for those cuts.
While not saying he is directly responsible for the crime rate increasing over the years, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association determined that due to those cuts, it could not endorse Walker in this year’s gubernatorial election, opting instead to support Democratic candidate Mary Burke.

There’s another important aspect worth pointing out: homicides from guns have increased as we’ve instituted concealed carry across Wisconsin.

During the concealed carry bill ceremony in 2011, Walker stated, “By signing concealed carry into law today we are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens.”

While we can’t definitively say that concealed carry is responsible for these crime increases, we can look closely at the evidence and say that Gov. Walker’s assertion that the state would be safer with the law in place is patently false.

We now see that Wisconsin isn’t safer under Walker’s watch. Having citizens carry guns around didn’t make us safer, either. And cutting funding for municipalities by huge margins may have contributed to lower budgets for law enforcement, making crime a rising problem in the state, at a time when the rest of the nation is seeing relatively unchanged crime stats.

How could anyone who wants a safer Wisconsin support Walker’s re-election bid? It’s time to face reality, and to start fresh with a new governor. Wisconsin’s safety is depending on it.

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