President Donald Trump just can't be correct about anything having to do with Baltimore, right? Well, when a Baltimore television station, WJZ, fact checked a White House claim that Baltimore has a higher murder rate than the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, perhaps they expected that assertion would be proven false. So imagine their surprise at what their fact check revealed.
BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The White House’s official Twitter account shared a startling statistic Thursday amid President Donald Trump’s Twitter feud with Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings: Baltimore’s murder rate is higher than that of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The murder rate in Baltimore is higher than that of Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala—the three Central American nations driving our border surge.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 1, 2019
Democrats have run Baltimore for 5 decades. It's time for accountability.
Today's news: https://t.co/xb9E3Be3a3 pic.twitter.com/tDq50ExvWm
Yup, it is a startling statistic and since it came from the "Twitter tirade" of the Big Bad Orange Man it can be easily disproved by a quick fact check, right?
The White House tweet links to its West Wing Reads blog. The claim in question comes from the Washington Examiner, which reportedly got its data from right-leaning Princeton Policy Advisors.
The Examiner article listed Baltimore’s murder rate at 56 per 100,000 residents compared to El Salvador’s 50, Guatemala’s 22 and Honduras’ 38.
Of course, it can't be true since those stats came from a "right-leaning" source.
WJZ reviewed data from 2018, the last full year for which data is available.
Data from the U.S. State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council lists El Salvador’s murder rate at 50 per 100,000 residents in 2018.
The council’s report listed Guatemala’s 2018 murder rate at 22 per 100,000.
Honduras’ 2018 murder rate was not included in OSAC’s annual crime and safety report published in April, but a report from the Observatory of Violence at the National Autonomous University of Honduras gave a figure of 41.4 murders per 100,000 residents.
Great! And now to show how ridiculous it is to pretend that Baltimore has a higher murder rate than the notoriously violent Central American countries.
HOW DOES BALTIMORE COMPARE?
Charm City ended 2018 with a total of 309 murders, according to the Baltimore Police Department. So far in 2019, police report 196 homicides have occurred.
Using the U.S. Census Bureau’s July 2018 population estimate for the city of 602,495, Baltimore’s 2018 murder rate is 51.3 murders per 100,000 residents.
Oops! So does mean that Baltimore residents can claim asylum in Central America in order to escape their more violence prone city?
Kudos to television station WJZ for at least following up on this with a fact check whose results they did not hide. It will be verrrrry interesting to see how other fact checkers report on this claim.