President Donald Trump tweeted about a rise in crime in the UK on Friday and made a shaky connection to “radical Islamic terror.”
Trump tweeted that “United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror,” adding that “we must keep America safe.”
The UK’s Office for National Statistics on Thursday published a report detailing a 13% increase in crime recorded by the police over the 12 months ended in June as well as a 9 percent decrease in crime over the same period reported in an annual survey of 35,000 residents of England and Wales.
The UK tracks both methods to account for the fact that not all crime is reported to or recorded by the police.
But while the police data did show an increase in overall crime, homicides, and terrorist attacks, the report does not present terrorist attacks as the main catalyst behind the overall crime increase.
According to the report, the police recorded 664 homicides in the year ended in June. Of those, 35, or 5.5%, resulted from the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. Even with the two attacks excluded, homicides rose by 46 year-over-year.
The Office for National Statistics explained the increase in police-recorded crime in part by saying crime recording had improved, though it acknowledged a genuine increase in some crime categories.
Trump was widely criticized for politicizing the June terrorist attack on London Bridge in which seven people died.
Labour MPs in the UK pushed back on Trump’s comment by pointing out the US’s higher total of homicides and attacking Trump’s grasp of the subject matter. “Donald Trump is talking nonsense about issues he doesn’t understand,” Labour MP Stephen Doughty told the Daily Mail.
Trump has often made a rhetorical mission of going after what he calls “radical Islamic terror,” pushing policies that critics say disproportionately target Muslims, such as his proposed travel bans.
Overall, crime has been trending downward in the US and the UK for decades.