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Rising Crimes

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never miss viewpointsKerby Anderson

Is crime on the rise? Most Americans think so. A Gallup survey last year found that nearly all (92%) Republicans and a majority (58%) of Democrats thought crime was increasing. A recent Rasmussen survey found most (61%) likely voters say violent crime in the US is getting worse.

But the media cites statistics arguing that crime is decreasing. That is why John Lott took the time to investigate the difference in perception about crime statistics. He concludes that Americans aren’t mistaken.

This country has two measures of crime. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting programs count the number of crimes reported to the police each year. The Bureau of Justice Statistics produces a National Crime Victimization Survey and asks Americans whether they have been victims of a crime. The two measures differ significantly.

One reason for the divergence is due to the fact that many police departments (especially in cities like New York and Los Angeles) don’t report crime data to the FBI. But there is another reason for the difference: many Americans are less likely to report a crime.

Arrest rates are plummeting. Why report a crime to the police if you don’t believe the criminal will be caught and punished? Arrest rates for property crimes, for example, have dropped sharply. FBI data for 2022 shows that only 12 percent of reported property crimes in all cities resulted in an arrest. In cities of more than one million people, that percentage drops to 4.5 percent. Arrest rates for violent crime also dropped significantly. And for cities with more than a million people, only 8.4 percent of violent crimes resulted in an arrest.

Crime is not decreasing. Only the reporting of crime is decreasing. viewpoints new web version

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