The Real Data on Violent-Crime Rates

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posted on April 28, 2024
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AP Photo/The New York Times, Marcus Yam

While much of the mainstream media are quick to prop up President Joe Biden’s (D) failed administration with reports that violent crime is falling dramatically in the United States, a new analysis by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) proves those reports to be untrue.

In February, NPR posted a story under the headline, “Violent crime is dropping fast in the U.S.—Even if Americans don’t believe it.” NBC ran a similar story headlined, “Most people think the U.S. crime rate is rising. They’re wrong.”

The gist of those stories was, of course, that Americans don’t need to worry about violent crime, as if it’s a non-factor in this election year. NPR, NBC and many other media outlets get their information from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, but according to John Lott, CPRC founder and president, that data doesn’t tell the real story.

“There is a big problem with using the FBI Uniform Crime Report data on crimes reported to police because victims don’t report most crimes,” Lott wrote in a recent analysis. “More importantly, the number of crimes reported to police falls as the arrest rate declines. If people don’t think the police will solve their cases, they are less likely to report them to the police.”

As Lott pointed out, although the violent-crime rate reported to police declined 1.7% between 2021 and 2022, the National Crime Victimization Survey showed that total violent crime—both reported and unreported—actually jumped substantially from 16.5 to 23.5 per thousand during that same period. Additionally, violent crime in 2022 was above the rate of the last year before the pandemic (in 2019) and above the average for the five years from 2015 to 2019.

Lott said the difference in crime data has come about for a couple of different reasons, not the least of which was that 37% of police departments, including those in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, have stopped reporting crime data to the FBI. Another key factor is the dramatic drop in arrests over recent years, resulting in fewer cases cleared.

The percentage of offenses cleared by arrest in American cities has dropped from 46% in 2015 to 35.2% in 2022. In cities with over one million in population, that drop has been even more dramatic—from 45.1% to only 20.3%.

Fewer arrests and cases cleared by arrest have led to more Americans not even bothering to report crimes since they have little faith that the criminal will ever be brought to justice. And it’s not hard to understand why: The percentage of all violent crimes (reported and unreported) that result in an arrest in American cities is only 20.3%, while in cities with more than one million people, that rate is only 8.4%!

“The drops in arrest rates by type of violent crime ranged from 15% to 27% for all cities and from 38% to 58% for cities with more than one million people,” Lott reported.

Curbing violent crime is one of biggest failures of the Biden administration. While he has constantly called for more-restrictive gun-control laws that burden lawful Americans, he’s done absolutely nothing to make the average American safer. The data makes this abundantly clear.

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