US Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently penned an opinion article in the Washington Post. He wrote that the illegal drug business generates violence and violent crime. True enough.
He further noted that violent crime is down by half since the War on Drugs peaked in 1991. Again, this is true.
Then he noted that as marijuana laws and federal sentencing guidelines have been relaxed, violent crime rates have increased. He noted that “In 2015, the United States suffered the largest single-year increase in the overall violent crime rate since 1991.” That is also true, but it is highly misleading, to say the least. It is like claiming that you have never dealt with the Russians only to find out that you have dealt with the Russians on several occasions and then used a semantic trick to prevent yourself from going to jail.
The violent crime rate in 1996 was 637 per 100,000 of population. In 2015, the violent crime rate was 373, a decrease of over 40%. Over this period there were a few years of small increases, but most years saw noteworthy declines. In 2014 there were 1.15 million violent crimes and in 2015 there were 1.20 million violent crimes in the United States. That moved the violent crime rate from 361.6 in 2014 to 372.6 in 2015, or an increase of 11 violent crimes per 100,000 population, or an increase of 3% in the violent crime rate.