The analysis of crime trends examines month-by-month and year-by-year crime data from the 30 largest U.S. cities.
Image via (cc) Flickr user Connor Tarter
As we head into a contentious election year, various politicians and media outlets are declaring that crime is rising and that America is sinking into lawless violence. Not so fast.
“The average person in a large urban area is safer walking on the street today than he or she would have been at almost any time in the past 30 years,” state the authors of “Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis,” a report released last week by the Brennan Center for Justice.
The analysis of crime trends examines month-by-month and year-by-year crime data from the 30 largest American cities, provided by the FBI and local police departments. They show crime overall was about the same in 2015 as it was in 2014, and is projected to decline by 5.5 percent, meaning that the crime rate will still be less than half of what it was in 1990.
While murder rates have increased alarmingly in cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (both cities account for almost 50 percent of the country’s murders), the report finds that these trends appear to be localized and not signs of a national crime epidemic. Cities with particularly high murder rates (Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and St. Louis) also had significantly lower incomes, higher poverty rates, and higher unemployment. This suggests, the report states, that “community conditions are a major factor.” It emboldens the position that deeper issues of inequality are at the core of the problems facing the nation and that these issues shouldn’t be covered up by “crime wave” rhetoric.