Seven in 10 Americans say there is more crime in the U.S. now than there was a year ago, according to Gallup. This figure is up slightly from the 63% who said so in 2014. Meanwhile, 18% say there is less crime, and 8% say the level of crime has stayed the same.
Since Gallup first began asking Americans in 1989 about their perceptions of crime, majorities generally have said crime had worsened compared with the previous year -- with more than 80% holding this view in the late 1980s and early '90s. Perceptions of greater crime fell over the course of the next decade as actual crime rates dropped, and reached a record low of 41% in 2001 after 9/11. By 2002, though, this figure was back to a majority, and ranged from 53% to 74% in the decade that followed.
Government data on actual crime rates in 2015 will not be released until next year, so it is not possible to know whether Americans' perceptions of rising crime this year reflect what is currently happening in the U.S. In many large cities across the country, violent crime rates have spiked in 2015, suggesting that national crime figures could be on the rise. News reports of this increased violence may account for the uptick in perceived violence in the latest poll.
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