Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crime's Down But Why?

This week's announcement of the release of the FBI's Preliminary UCR Crime Report has got everyone scratching their head now that they've had a chance to digest the numbers. There's a story over at the New York Times that has some good quotes in it:

Criminology experts said they were surprised and impressed by the national numbers, issued on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and based on data from more than 13,000 law-enforcement agencies. They said the decline nationally in the number of violent crimes, by 5.5 percent, raised the question, at least in some places, of to what extent crime could continue to fall — or at least fall at the same pace as the past two years. Violent crimes fell nearly the same amount in 2009.

“Remarkable,” said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University. “Given the fact that we have had some healthy declines in recent years, I fully expected that the improvement would slow. There is only so much air you can squeeze out of a balloon.”

There was no immediate consensus to explain the drop. But some experts said the figures collided with theories about correlations between crime, unemployment and the number of people in prison.

In addition to the FBI's release, the Texas Department of Public Safety also released some preliminary stats in their Crime In Texas 2010 report.

Violent crime and property crimes both fell compared to the year before. The overall crime rate—the number of crimes per 100,000 population in Texas—decreased 6 percent in 2010. The violent crime rate was down 8.3 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, and the property crime rate decreased by 5.7 percent.

While the overall crime rate has been down several times over the last decade, this is the first time since 2000 that all seven index crime rates decreased during the same year. Murder was down 7.4 percent, rape 9.2 percent, robbery 14.9 percent, aggravated assault 4.9 per- cent, burglary 5.9 percent, larceny/theft 4.9 per- cent and motor vehicle theft 12.3 percent.

The good thing for Texas is that every city with a population of greater than 100,000 showed a decrease in crime except for Frisco, Killeen, and Round Rock. The talley for Texas cities with a population between 50,000 and 100,000 was not so good with 9 cities showing an increase in crime.

Of course, Texas DPS must also be using the same population figures as the FBI did because they are listing 34 cities in Texas has having a population 100,000 or greater. I posted yesterday that the FBI's population numbers didn't jive with the US Census Bureau.

1 comment:

  1. The reason why people may be so shocked and confused by the number drops are due to the media. We constantly see on the news how crime is constantly taking place. This media attention gives the impression that crime is taking place daily, and more so violent crime. Since the media is less likely to report on the decline of crime, because that is not what will attract the audience who are more intrigued by the breaking news of violent crime.

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