During his “New Rules” segment on Friday’s episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher complained, a lot, about the crime rate in America to the extent that the bit almost felt like a throwback to the early 1990s, when the national crime rate was actually at record highs.
And during an aside, he talked about the homelessness epidemic in curious terms.
“This year the LA City Council voted that every homeless tent had to be removed from dozens of locations. Yet, every freeway overpass still looks like history’s saddest Coachella,” Maher said.
“The homeless are both preyed upon, and frankly, a concern that they will do… god knows what. YOu go out for a run in your neighborhood and you have to wonder whether that guy eyeing you on the corner is gonna be this guy,” at which point Maher made the jerk-off gesture. “Or this guy,” at which point Maher made a stabbing gesture.
Maher then ran down a ton of other crime-related things you’ve probably read about, like smash and grab robberies, ‘follow home’ robberies, a rise in shoplifting. He even trotted out the claim that stores like Walgreens pulled out of San Francisco due to shoplifting, though that claim is not supported by any actual data. In fact, city officials say that there actually hasn’t been any such problem at Walgreens and that the more likely culprit is market saturation, which didn’t stop Walgreens from muddying the waters, politically.
Maher argued that these are examples of a breakdown of some sort in society where “there’s no lines anymore,” and of course on example of this was the attack on Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl by a Trump-supporting rapper. And after running down other examples of things he’s worried about, Maher said that Democrats need to acknowledge these things instead of, in his view, ignoring them. Especially because Donald Trump made crime a huge part of his platform — though Trump was lying about that, in case people forgot.
You can watch the whole thing above. But if you want to read more about the, yes, real rise in recent crime but also the context, go here. One thing to bear in mind — it’s still very, very low historically and it’s mostly violent crime, as property crimes are on the decline. And also, the murder rate is worse in Republican controlled states.