Some Crime Statistics

Fighting crime is a priority of every country and every society, and the United States is definitely not an exception. Moreover, societies have to devote resources to fighting crime. Some countries have small budgets, while others have very large budgets. The United States has a very large budget to fighting crime. Moreover, there are a number of non-law enforcement entities that help fight crime. For example, public watchdog groups, advocacy organizations, and the courts also help hinder crime. In 2007, the United States was an impressive reduction in crime. Although addressing why that reduction occurred is important, simply looking at the statistics will reveal that the decrease in crime rates was notable.

Compared to the first half of 2006, the first half of 2007 in the United States saw rather large decreases in crime. Nationwide, violence fell 1.8% and property crime fell 2.6%. Moreover, in every one of the four regions in the U.S. violence crime in every category fell. Nationally,

  • murder dropped 1.1%
  • rape dropped 6.1%
  • robbery 1.2%
  • assault 1.7%

Additionally, cities that had over 1 million residents saw significant drops in violent crime rates:

  • murder rates fell 6.5%
  • rape fell 14.2%
  • robbery 4.3%
  • assault 3.3%

Furthermore, across the nation property crime fell in every category:

  • burglary rates dropped by 1.3%
  • larceny-theft fell 2.1%
  • motor vehicle theft fell by 7.4%

And amazingly, arson, not considered a violent crime or a property crime, dropped by 9.7%.

Clearly, the United States has met with notable success in reducing crime. But unsurprisingly, some crime has not decreased but has in fact jumped.

  • In non-metropolitan cities and cities that have between 10,000 and 24,000 residents, violent crime jumped 1.1%. Essentially, rural areas saw slight increase in crime.
  • In metropolitan counties, cities with 50,000 to 99,999 residents, and non-metropolitan counties, murder rates jumped.
  • Burglary rates jumped 3.5% in in metropolitan cities.
  • The South saw a 0.4% increase in property crimes.

So, what do these statistics mean? What is the U.S. doing right, and what can be improved? What works and what does not? Those questions are difficult to answer and need to be answered (or attempted to be answered) by professional researchers. Reductions or increases can be linked to a variety of factors. Rarely can they be linked to only one factor.

Crime statistics show that the United States crime, while definitely being address in the United States, still can have more resources and attention to devoted to it. Crimes will occur, and people will be charged.

The Economy and Its Affect on America’s Crime Rate – Past and Future

In the 1990s the crime rate in the U.S. dropped dramatically in all significant categories, including violent crime and property crime. Some experts attribute this drop to the strong economy that existed throughout most of the decade, when the per capita income increased by as much as 30% and the unemployment rate dropped by 2%[1]. These numbers have pushed many experts in the field to speculate on the potential effects that today’s recessed economy will have on the crime rate for the foreseeable future.

There is no doubt that a strong economy encourages a lower crime rate, for many reasons. While many experts could not directly attribute the drop in violent crime to the increase in economic strength seen in the 1990s, they did attribute it to additional state funding for police departments and crime prevention measures. The drop in property crime, specifically theft, was directly relational to the increase in economic prosperity[2]. The indications of this study show that when citizens have the resources to provide for their needs they are less likely to turn to crime as a way of providing for themselves and their families, and those individuals who are more likely to commit violent crimes are often deterred or caught in the act through increased intervention by law enforcement made possible by sufficient financial resources.

Studies have also shown that children who grow up in homes whose annual income is at or below poverty level are also more likely to engage in criminal activity as teens and adults, and a recent study done by the Christian Association for Prison Aftercare discovered that over 53% of those individuals who are currently incarcerated had an average income of $10,000 or less[3]. Despite the controversy that these studies have sparked, there is little question in anyone’s mind that a recessed economy, accompanied by the dramatic rise in unemployment and drop in per capita income that accompany the recession, will ultimately lead in an increase in crime rate if proactive measures are not taken.

The economic stimulus plan that is going into effect under President Obama may offer a solution to the threatening increase in crime. Through his development plan steps will be taken to provide for those living in poverty, including children and senior citizens, increasing federally funded health care coverage and tax cuts and creating a number of federally funded jobs that are expected to have a dramatic impact on the unemployment rate and begin to repair the damage that the economic recession has wrought[4].

One can only hope that these steps will also serve to head off any notable increase in crime rate as well.

[1] Levitt, S. (2004). Understanding why crime fell in the 1990s: Four factors that explain the decline and six that do not. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18.

[2] Ibid

[3] Williams, J. (2007). Poverty and crime.

[4]Espo, D. (2009, February 14). Stimulus bill heads to President’s desk. The Free Lance Star, pp. A1, A9.

Self Defense and Community Crime Rates

We are all aware that the United States has a serious crime problem. Most think the way to deal with unbridled crime is to allow the police to deal with this epidemic. Non violent persons had no problem carrying some kind of non lethal self defense products. Others believe that ownership of firearms by law abiding citizens will reduce the violent crime rate. Of course arming citizens does not sit well with Law Enforcement Agencies..They are concerned that this would only aggravate an already bad situation. Just imagine what would happen if two strangers got involved in a physical confrontation and they both were carrying a handgun. We can only imagine that it could easily escalate into a gun fight.

A friend of mine who carries not lethal self defense weapons and lives in a large city with a high crime rate stated. “Every time I leave my apartment, I fear for my life”. You may not feel that helpless, but I am sure that the realization that you could become a victim has crossed your mind. My mother frequently commented when she was much younger when there was a murder anywhere in the city the community was shocked and appalled. Murders only occurred on a very small scale, and murderers were viewed as monsters. Today we are so used to hearing of homicides and other violent crimes we have become desensitized. In some major cities murders exceed three hundred a year.

I grew up in Baltimore City, and I was exposed to crime and violence at a very young age. I thought all cities had the same crime problems until I did a stint in the army. Traveling around the country while in the military, I discovered peaceful crime free communities where people actually spoke to you when they walked by. In Baltimore City if a stranger acknowledges you, they usually want something. Self defense and crime were my last concern. After military service, I spent eleven years on the Baltimore City Police Department. I saw more carnage and death as a police officer than I experienced in a year of combat. I finally left the police Department and now live in small town around 60 miles from the city.

I finally moved away from an environment of noise, trash in the streets and in some area rats as big as cats. I live in a quiet clean and friendly community. Although the crime rate is nowhere near the scale of Baltimore City, recently a number of brutal rapes and murders have occurred. I notice especially at night people seem apprehensive and very cautious. Rarely do you see women walking alone or approaching strangers making casual conversations. Several of my friends have obtained weapons for their self defense. There is a lesson for all honest, hard working, law abiding citizens out there. You may have always lived in a low crime rate area, or you may have recently moved to one. Crime is everywhere and self defense should always be your concern.

Katie’s Law

In September of 2010 the State of Colorado enacted “Katie’s Law.” This law requires persons arrested and suspected of a felony to submit to a DNA sample when they are fingerprinted photographed and booked by police. The law was passed in an attempt to assist in solving violent and sex-assault crimes that have been pending for some time. The law also requires that if no felony charges are filed after 1 year, then the DNA samples are to be destroyed. The state of Colorado is one of 12 states that has approved Katie’s Law to collect DNA in every felony arrest, not just violent felonies..

In the first 4 ½ months, 15,404 DNA swabs were collected from suspected felons. Of these, 9,212 of the samples were processed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation once felony charges were filed. The samples are then entered into the Combined DNA index system (CODIS) which stores results collected from crime scenes and victims throughout the country. Of the initial samples run, 40 matches have been found and charges are now pending in these cases.

Since 2006, 16 states have adopted Katie’s Law. The law is credited with hundreds of arrests, not to mention the exonerations of over 200 suspects serving time for crimes they didn’t commit. Advocates of the law, such as New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez states that the law “convicts the guilty, exonerates the innocent and prevents untold people from becoming victims of violent crime.” Katie’s Law helps increase public safety by not giving criminals a second chance. Opponents of the law, on the other hand, want to ensure that the suspects fourth amendment rights are not violated and want assurances that DNA testing doesn’t occur unless the suspect is actually charged with a crime.

“Katie’s Law” was first enacted in New Mexico and is named after Katie Sepich, a 22 year old college student at New Mexico State University who was raped, strangled and set on fire by a man released on bond back in 2003. So far, 24 states have enacted Katie’s Law or similar legislation. In February of 2010, Congressman Harry Teague (D-NM) introduced the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2010 on the Federal level. The bill was overwhelmingly passed in the House by a vote of 357-32. A similar bill in the Senate was introduced in September of 2010 by senator Jeff Bingham (D-NM). In an interview with John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted, President Obama stated that “it is the right thing to do” and voiced his support for national legislation.

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