Between 1991 and 2010, the homicide rate in the United States fell 51 percent, from 9.8 per 100,000 residents to 4.8 per 100,000. Property crimes such as burglary also fell sharply during that period; auto theft, once the bane of urban life, dropped an astonishing 64 percent. And FBI data released Dec. 19 show that the trends continued in the first half of 2011. With luck, the United States could soon equal its lowest homicide rate of the modern era: 4.0 per 100,000, recorded in 1957.I don't doubt that within a couple of days after the start of the New Year, my Chief will be marching to my office to get an idea of what our stats books will look like since we'll have closed the books on 2011. This is something that is likely to be repeated in police department's across the country.
In some agencies, their local trends will be good, in others theirs will be bad and in many they'll be mixed. The good thing is that as a whole, crime is down in the United States. The challenge for us in 2012 is to continue this progress. Sure, we face challenges with the economy. But if we continue to work smarter and let the data drive our operations we'll keep driving crime down. This is a crime trend worth keeping.