Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing? [October 29, 2015]   [open pdf - 723KB]

"On August 31, 2015, the New York Times ran an article with the headline 'Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities.' The story highlighted double-digit percentage increases in homicide rates in several cities, and came on the heels of reports from other media outlets of recent spikes in violent crime in cities across the country. Accounts of rising violent crime rates in some cities have generated speculation about whether the United States is in the midst of a new crime wave. Overall, homicide and violent crime rates have been trending downward for more than two decades, and both rates are at historic lows. An analysis comparing 2014 and 2015 homicide data from the nation's 60 most populous cities suggests that violent crime is not increasing. Overall, reported homicides were up 16% in 2015, but a majority of cities (44 of 60) have not seen a statistically significant increase in homicides. The general consensus is that it is too early to draw any conclusions about the reversal of long-term trends. Also, even if homicide and violent crime rates do increase this year, it may not portend a break in the long-term trend. Even though both rates have been on a downward trend since 1990, there were years where either the homicide rate or violent crime rate increased. […] The recent discussion about the increases in violent crime in some cities might raise the question of whether there is a need for more 'real time' nationwide crime statistics. More frequent and consistent crime data might be able to provide greater insight into crime trends. However, there are logistical issues involved with collecting and reporting timely and accurate crime statistics from the nation's approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44259
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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