At the Law Office of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, in New York, we know how difficult your life becomes when you face criminal charges. No matter what the charge, your freedom likely is at stake. In addition, not only could you face a substantial prison sentence if convicted, you likewise could face payment of a substantial fine.
People across the nation continue to list crime as one of their biggest concerns. The Pew Research Center, however, recently released the results of its study showing that crime may not be as bad in the U.S. as people think it is. Here are their top five findings.
1. Violent crime down by 48 percent
Using data from the annual reports of the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Pew found that violent crime in the U.S. has declined significantly since it peaked in the early 1990s. Between 1993 and 2016, the last year for which data is available, FBI data show that nationally, violent crimes decreased by 48 percent, from 747.1 per 100,000 residents to 383.6. BJS data show an even larger decrease during this period: 74 percent from 79.8 per 1,000 residents to 21.1.
2. Property crimes likewise down
Property crimes such as burglary, theft and auto theft also decreased between 1993 and 2016. The FBI data show a 48 percent decrease, while BJS data show a 66 percent decrease.
3. Public perception and data at odds
Despite these encouraging figures, most people think that the U.S. crime rate is up at best and out of control at worst. Gallup polls consistently show that 60 percent of Americans believe that more crime occurs each year than the year before. Interestingly, however, this percentage drops significantly when residents talk about crime in their own areas. In answering this poll question, less than 50 percent of responders say that the crime rate is up in their own area.
4. Regional differences
FBI data show a significant difference in crime from one area of the country to another. For instance, in states such as Alaska and Tennessee, over 600 violent crimes occur for every 100,000 residents. In contrast, states such as Maine and Vermont show a violent crime rate of fewer than 200 per 100,000 residents.
5. Most crimes neither reported nor solved
BJS data show that in 2016, only 42 percent of violent crime victims nationwide reported the incident to law enforcement officers, and only 36 percent of property crime victims reported these crimes. Even more disturbing, once reported, officers solved only about 46 percent of the violent crimes and a paltry 18 percent of the property crimes.
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