Is there a crime wave in America?
Judd Legum, Tesnim Zekeria and Rebecca Crosby at Popular Information write:
Without a doubt, people believe that crime continues to surge. A Gallup poll found that 78% of Americans believe that there was more crime in 2022 than in 2021. (Only 13% believed it declined.)
Comprehensive data for 2022, recently released by the FBI, tells a very different story. And preliminary data suggests that 2023 could feature one of the most dramatic declines in violent crime in modern history.
In 2022, homicides were down 6.1%, according to FBI data. The nation’s murder rate, the data shows, was 6.3 per 100,000 people. This figure is below 2020 levels, but slightly higher than 2019. Still, since 1991, the rate of murder has dropped 36%.
Nationwide, the FBI reports that the violent crime rate, including homicide, dropped “an estimated 1.7%” in 2022 compared to the year before. The rate of violent crime is the lowest it has been since 2014, and is nearly half of what it was in 1991 and 1992.
This downward trend, experts say, is expected to continue in 2023. According to crime data from the first half of the year, there is “strong evidence of a sharp and broad decline in the nation’s murder rate,” crime analyst Jeff Asher reports. Asher finds that preliminary data indicates that the nation is witnessing the “largest annual percent changes in murder ever recorded.” Murder, for example, was “down about 12 percent year-to-date in more than 90 cities that have released data for 2023, compared with data as of the same date in 2022.” While Asher acknowledges that these trends could change somewhat, this number is still “astonishing.”
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