CBS's Byron Pitts Blames Iraq War for Rise in Violent Crime in the U.S.

In a Monday CBS Evening News story on how the FBI has reported that violent crime rose 2.3 percent in 2005, with a 9.2 percent hike in mid-sized cities -- a topic CBS hyped as "Eye on Crime: The Crisis" -- Byron Pitts attributed the increase in part to police officers deployed to Iraq as well as to the media's favorite culprit: a cut in federal spending. Pitts traveled to a mid-sized city, Minneapolis, where he found that “like so many cities its size, resources are strained. One burden, dollars diverted to Homeland Security. An added burden, the war in Iraq." A police officer lamented: "We have probably 30 to 40 officers that are serving in Iraq right now." But in a department of nearly 900 officers, that's only about four percent of the force. Pitts soon proposed another factor: "Since 2004, the Feds have cut funding for state and local police departments by nearly 50 percent. So with fewer police officers, more at-risk kids and more gangs go unwatched."

I'd bet the “cut” has been much less than 50 percent. And why should local policing be a federal responsibility?

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the relevant portion of the October 16 CBS Evening News story:

Byron Pitts: "....But like so many cities its size, resources are strained. One burden, dollars diverted to Homeland Security. An added burden, the war in Iraq."

Officer Rich Jackson, Minneapolis Police Department: "We have probably 30 to 40 officers that are serving in Iraq right now."

Pitts, riding in a car with Jackson: "Right now?"

Jackson: "Right now."

Pitts: "Have they been replaced with anybody?"

Jackson: "No."

Pitts: "Since 2004, the Feds have cut funding for state and local police departments by nearly 50 percent. So with fewer police officers, more at-risk kids and more gangs go unwatched...."

Iraq Budget CBS Evening News
Brent Baker's picture