After years of progress in criminal justice reform, a recent uptick in shootings in several large cities has challenged its effect on public safety in the media. In response, Charles Lane’s July 14 op-ed, “The risk of reigniting fear of crime,” proclaimed: “The declining violent crime rate has been a win for criminal justice reform. A reversal would be a loss.”

We are facing a global pandemic, nationwide unrest over racial injustice, political turmoil and a tanking economy. Common sense would suggest that these factors are affecting crime rates. Also, we already know violent crime tends to increase in summer.

And though homicides may be up, other, more common violent crimes have decreased. In San Francisco, robbery, larceny, rape and assault have substantially declined since last year.

There’s plenty of evidence that reform is reducing crime. Texas’s 2007 investment in a less punitive criminal justice system led to a drop in recidivism as its crime rate reached an all-time low. Louisiana and other states have successfully enacted similar common-sense reforms without jeopardizing public safety. This year certainly poses new challenges, but it would be a grave mistake to reverse the momentum of good policy because of over-reductive conclusions.