Mr. Buttigieg is surely not a racist. But his failures are real. The biggest is that South Bend remains a much more violent city than he pretends.

He’s only made matters worse by trying to pander to the activist crowd, apologizing for failing to diversify the police and talking up problems of “structural racism.” The cops see this as throwing them under the bus. The local Fraternal Order of Police says that when Mr. Buttigieg makes “disparaging remarks such as ‘All Police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism,’ ” he is doing so “solely for his political gain and not the health of the city he serves.”

The unpleasant reality is that Mayor Buttigieg’s remarks also take place in the context of a still too-violent South Bend. Take murder. In the two years before Mr. Buttigieg took office, 2010 and 2011, there were only six and nine murders in South Bend, a city of 100,000. The count jumped to 18 in his first year as mayor, dropped to nine the following year, but then jumped back up.

In 2018, 20 people were murdered. On Monday, the South Bend Tribune reported that though rape and robbery are down this year, aggravated assault is up 38% and shootings have “spiked.” “It’s like the O.K. Corral out here,” one resident told the paper.