Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A majority of Americans think crime is rising, is that good or bad?

Two months ago, a Gallup poll found despite a sharp decline in the United States' violent crime rate since the mid-1990s, "the majority of Americans continue to believe the nation's crime problem is getting worse, as they have for most of the past decade." Currently, 68 percent say there is more crime in the U.S. than there was a year ago, 17 percent say less, and  eight percent volunteer that crime is unchanged.

That number is not unique to the the U.S.  A recent poll in the U.K. found very similar results. Nearly two-thirds of people believe that crime in England and Wales is on the rise despite levels falling to their lowest for 30 years in 2010, according to the Guardian.

The fear of crime can have a healthy impact on crime rates.  I will examine this premise in more detail this Friday in my Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blog The Cautionary Instruction.

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