Be sure to see an overview of crime in American cities at http://www.crimeinamerica.net/city-crime-rates-top-ten-cities/.
See top 10 factors driving violent crime at http://www.crimeinamerica.net/2011/02/22/top-10-factors-contributing-to-violent-crime/.
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Is America entering a new era of increasing violence?
The bottom line is that violent and property crime are still at record lows for the country and, generally speaking, have been decreasing for the last two decades except for recent years (2011, 2012 and the first six months of 2015).
But yes, violent crime is increasing throughout the Unites States. We predicted the increase for 2015, and we predict another increase in 2016.
According to recent US Department of Justice funded data measuring crime in 56 cities, “…the homicide rise in 2015 in the nation’s large cities was real and, while not unprecedented, comparatively large. The average homicide increase over 2014 in the top ten was 33.3 percent, compared with a 16.8-percent rise for the sample as a whole.”
“One-year increases of this magnitude in the nation’s large cities, although not unknown, are very rare.”
Generally speaking, data on homicides and violent crime trendlines match.
All categories of violent crime increased for the first six months of 2015 (latest data) which was very predictable. There were media reports in multiple cities in 2015 that homicides and violent crime were increasing.
Those media reports of increases in many (not all) cities continues for 2016.
Aggravated assault and rapes increased in 2014 while overall violent crime remained flat (tiny decrease) compared to 2013. The FBI states that the decrease in violent crime went from 4.6 percent in the first six months of 2014 to 1.2 percent for all of 2014. It led some (including this site) to suggest that violent crime was increasing.
Decreases in 2014 and 2013 from both reports (FBI and National Crime Survey) and increases in crime found in National Crime Survey data (for 2011 and 2012) and the 2012 FBI report (violent crime increases) created mixed results and needed to be watched carefully, but the trend over decades is clearly down, while increasing in recent years.
Criminologists were puzzled by the continuing decreases in crime in the past and offered little in terms of an explanation, but some are now expressing concern regarding full FBI data in 2014 and the first six months of 2015. Some in criminal justice circles are predicting increases in violent crime for the final six months of 2015 and beyond.
We agree that violent crime will continue to increase throughout 2016.
We note that Americans’ level of concern about crime and violence is at its highest point in 15 years, says a new Gallup survey. Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults say they personally worry “a great deal” about crime and violence, an increase of 14 percentage points since 2014. Gallup said the figure is the highest the firm has measured since March 2001 (source below).
What follows is an array of reports from the US Department of Justice and additional sources to provide a comprehensive view of crime in America.
National Crime Headlines: FBI-Crimes Reported to Police:
- All categories of violent crime increase in 2015 (As Predicted by this Site)
- Violent and property crime decreased in 2013 and 2014
- Aggravated assault and rape increased in 2014
- Lowest murder rate since 1960 but violent crime increases in 2012
National Crime Headlines: National Crime Survey:
- Violent and property crime decline in 2014
- Violent and property crime decline in 2013
- The violent crime rate had declined for nearly two decades before increasing in 2011 and 2012
There are two primary sources for crime data in the United States. The first is crime reported to law enforcement agencies, processed at the state level and reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Many criminologists see this data as an index of serious crimes.
The second is the National Crime Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which is an attempt to document all crime (except homicides) in the US regardless of reported and unreported crime.
FBI-Crimes Reported to Police-Summary:
The FBI reported that all of the offenses in the violent crime category—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape (revised definition), rape (legacy definition), aggravated assault, and robbery—showed increases when data from the first six months of 2015 were compared with data from the first six months of 2014. The number of rapes (legacy definition) increased 9.6 percent, the number of murders increased 6.2 percent, aggravated assaults increased 2.3 percent, the number of rapes (revised definition) rose 1.1 percent, and robbery offenses were up 0.3 percent.
The FBI reports preliminary figures indicating that law enforcement agencies throughout the nation showed an overall decrease of 4.6 percent in the number of violent crimes for the first 6 months of 2014 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2013. The violent crime category includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The number of property crimes in the United States from January to June of 2014 decreased 7.5 percent when compared with data for the same time period in 2013.
However, when the FBI released their full report for 2014, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 0.2 percent in 2014 when compared with 2013 data. Aggravated assault and rapes increased. Property crimes decreased by 4.3 percent, marking the 12th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined. Based on the full report in 2014, and with endless news reports documenting increases in homicide and violence in cities throughout the country, we predicted an increase in violent crime for 2015. See http://www.crimeinamerica.net/2016/01/19/as-predicted-violent-crime-increased-in-2015/.
The FBI released Crime in the United States, 2013, which shows that the estimated number of violent crimes in 2013 decreased 4.4 percent when compared with 2012 figures, and the estimated number of property crimes decreased 4.1 percent. There were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes reported to law enforcement last year, along with an estimated 8,632,512 property crimes. Property crimes decreased 4.1 percent in 2013, marking the 11th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.
The 2013 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 367.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,730.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate declined 5.1 percent compared to the 2012 rate, while the property crime rate declined 4.8 percent.
2012-The FBI estimated that in 2012 the number of violent crimes increased 0.7 percent. However, property crimes decreased 0.9 percent, marking the tenth straight year of declines for these offenses, collectively.
The rate for homicide remained at historic lows, 4.7 percent per 100,000 in 2012.
National Crime Survey-Summary:
Violent crime rates decreased from 2013 (23.2 victimizations per 1,000) to 2014 (20.1 per 1,000).
1993 to 2014, the rate of violent crime declined from 79.8 to 20.1 per 1,000.
The overall property crime rate (which includes household burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft) decreased from 131.4 victimizations per 1,000 households in 2013 to 118.1 victimizations per 1,000 in 2014.
In 2013, the overall violent crime rate declined slightly from 26.1 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 U.S. residents from 2012 to 2013, per the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The violent crime rate had declined for nearly two decades before increasing in 2011 and 2012.
The overall property crime rate, which includes burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft, also decreased after two consecutive years of increases. From 2012 to 2013, the rate declined from 155.8 to 131.4 victimizations per 1,000 U.S. households.
In 2012, for the second consecutive year, violent and property crime rates increased for U.S. residents age 12 or older, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The overall violent crime rate (which includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault) rose from 22.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons in 2011 to 26.1 in 2012
Crimes not reported to police:
The problem is that the majority of crime (approximately half of violent crimes and 60 percent of property crimes) are not reported to law enforcement agencies.
Crimes are not reported because victims see the event as a personal matter (a fight between friends or family members) or a theft that the victim considers minor or the victim’s belief that law enforcement cannot resolve the issue (a theft where the likelihood of getting property back or resulting in the arrest of the offender is unlikely).
To deal with the crime reporting issue, the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, under the US Department of Justice created the National Crime Survey. The National Crime Survey collects data from households and individuals (similar to the Census Bureau) to get a picture of total crime.
The latest data involving crimes reported to law enforcement agencies (through the FBI) includes:
For the latest data from the National Crime Survey, see:
Gallup states that 26 percent of households victimized by crime. If cyber crimes were included, the household victimization rate would surge to 46% (November, 2014)
Gallup states that most Americans believe that crime in America is up, see:
Gallup states that fear of crime is at record high levels:
Americans’ level of concern about crime and violence is at its highest point in 15 years, says a new Gallup survey. Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults say they personally worry “a great deal” about crime and violence, an increase of 14 percentage points since 2014. Gallup said the figure is the highest the firm has measured since March 2001.
For an overview of declining crime over the last 20 years, see:
- See http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/StateCrime.cfm for a long-range view of violent crime rates from the FBI.
For an overview of the FBI’s new National Incident-Based Reporting System, see:
A multi-decade summation from the National Crime Survey:
In 2010, violent and property victimization rates fell to their lowest levels since the early 1990s. From 1993 to 2010, the violent crime victimization rate decreased 70 percent, dropping steadily from about 50 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 1993 to about 15 per 1,000 in 2010. The property crime victimization rate fell 62 percent, from about 319 victimizations per 1,000 households in 1993 to 120 per 1,000 in 2010.”
From a 2013 Department of Justice report on repeat victimization:
In 2010, the 17 percent of violent crime victims who experienced repeat victimization accounted for 54 percent of all violent victimizations.
For serious violent crimes, the victimization rate decreased 77 percent from 1993 to 2010, while the prevalence rate decreased 66 percent.
The decline in total household property crime victimization rates (down 64 percent) from 1993 to 2010 was greater than the decline in prevalence rates (down 48 percent).
The proportion of household property crime victims who reported two or more incidents during each year decreased from 25 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2010. In 2010, the 18 percent of repeat household victims accounted for about 41 percent of all household property victimizations.