Violent Crime Rate Reduction
FBI Statistics Show Major Reduction in Violent Crime Rates
Did you know that according to official FBI and U.S. Department of Justice reports, the rates of violent crime in the U.S. are now at their lowest level in 40 years? Did you know that violent crime rates of 2019 were 1/4 the rates of 1993? Other countries are experiencing a similar decline. And deaths of law enforcement officers reached their lowest in 50 years according to this Boston Globe article. What inspiring news!!! Yet notice how little media attention this has drawn.
A number of years ago, I came across a major media article stating violent crime rates were on the decline. Given all of the violence reported in the news every day, I was amazed and somewhat skeptical. To verify the claim, I searched for and found the FBI's webpage listing cumulative crime statistics. I was most surprised to find that not only were violent crime rates steadily declining over the previous 17 years, the cumulative decline was huge! What great news!!! Yet I was also fascinated that the article I read didn't mention the extent of this decline.
So ever since, I've followed this topic with great interest. And the rates continued to decline until around 2015 when they leveled out. Yet as I search the news, every year I find a only a few major media articles which state that crime has decreased for a certain year or few years. I've only found one major media article which talked about violent crime being at the lowest rate in 40 years, and even that article failed to mention that the overall violent crime rate has dropped to 1/3 of what it was 17 years prior to publication date.
That one article was from the New York Times on May 23, 2011. Yet this article, too, seemed to downplay the great news with a title that was far from inspiring, "Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts." But at least this one report laid out some of the astounding statistics:
"The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years. In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year."
The author of this article used the words "appeared to be the lowest rate," and "the country appears to be safer." When this information is based on FBI statistics, why does he water down this most inspiring news by using the word "appear"? And the FBI statistics actually show that the odds of being murdered or robbed are not just "less than half," but actually one-third of what they were in the early 1990s.
Here are a few articles I've collected which show the lack of reporting of this most inspiring news:
June 1, 2009: USA Today/AP - FBI: U.S. crime falls, but small town violence up
Sept. 14, 2010: Boston Globe/AP - Crime rate decline puzzles theorists
June 11, 2012: Washington Post/AP - FBI says violent crime fell 4 percent last year; but has long downward trend hit bottom?
Nov. 10, 2014: Chicago Tribune - FBI: Violent crime drops, reaches 1970s level
Sept. 28, 2015: CNN News - FBI report: Violent crime down in U.S.
Notice the USA Today headline even waters down the inspiring news by focusing on where violence is up. And the title of a New York Times article from the year 2000 is further evidence of a negative bias: "Crime Rates Fall Again, but Decline May Slow," when it did not slow at all. Why aren't the media reporting this amazing reduction in crime in top headlines to inspire people?
No one seems to know why crime has been declining so steadily. One reason may be that as the baby boomers are aging, the percentage of young adults has declined. Another is that due to tougher sentencing laws, prison numbers are way up. 2.2 million Americans are now behind bars. That's about one percent of the adult population and more than any other nation, including China. And it's possible that email and the Internet are helping people to feel more connected and less likely to want to harm others. Or it could be potential criminals now spend most of the time looking at their cell phones. All of these factors and more may play a role in the decline.
No matter what the reason, let's celebrate this great news! At least in this one very significant way, our world is a safer place to live. Yea!!! Now please help to spread this inspiring news far and wide.
With warm wishes,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton
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