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Fun Fact Friday: Crime Rates Are Dropping, Not Increasing

September 22, 2017

There is a common misconception perpetuated by numerous news outlets and prominent political figures that crime in the U.S. has increased in the last decade and Americans are less safe than ever before. With the advent of the internet, access to worldwide breaking news on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and 24-hour news cycles, it is easy to have confirmation bias on this claim. However, the data provided by The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law reports the contrary:

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law analyzed crime rates from over 25 years from 30 major cities in the US, including Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles. They accumulated reports and data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the police departments throughout the 30 cities analyzed. As seen in the graphs and in a previous study done in 2016, they revealed that the overall crime rate has decreased by over fifty percent since 1990. Recent data found that most major cities are experiencing a decrease in crime and murder from 2016 to 2017, with notable decreases from New York and Washington D.C. The violent crime rate for 2017 is projected to reach its second-lowest point since 1990, beaten by one percent from 2014's crime rate.

The bottom line, researchers note that while there may be fluctuations in crime rates from year to year, it is not sufficient evidence for the overall downward trend in crime, violent crimes, and murder. The United States has become demonstrably safer in the last two decades: it is imperative that these facts be presented when there is a debate on the current status of public safety and security in the U.S.


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