It is sometimes difficult to believe, based on the horrible stories that get covered non-stop on the 24-hour news cycle, but violent crime actually has been decreasing for about two decades. The incidences of assaults and rapes and robberies have shown a downward slope since 1993. From 1993 through 2010, violent crime in the United States decreased by 65%. That’s remarkable and a testament to better trained law enforcement, effective laws and sentencing, and many other factors. Unfortunately, it appears that trend in the right direction stalled out last year. Let’s hope it is only a one-year aberration.
The Bureau of Justice just released statistics showing a 22% increase in simple assaults in 2011 over the record low that our country had just the year before. Of the more serious, violent assaults, the number of such attacks appears at best to have remained about the same as 2010. Overall, violent crime saw an 18% uptick over the previous year. And, it is not just crimes against our fellow humans that saw an increase last year; property crimes were up 11% over 2010.
The surveys done for this research were completed by phone as opposed to reviewing police records, as the hope was to account for crimes that were never reported to law enforcement. This is crucial, as less than half of all crimes are ever reported.
Analysts remind us that the jump seems so large due in part to the fact that crime statistics were so low in 2010, inflating the gap that occurred with the crime that took place in 2011. But, that leaves the question—why were we as a nation significantly less violent in 2010 and was caused the spike in 2011?
Do you have some thoughts on the reasons behind this shift in the trend? What made 2011 so different from the twenty years that preceded it? I love to get your opinions on this.
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