Statistics show that violent crime is lower than it has been for the past decade. In 2011, violent crime incidents — murder, robbery, aggravated assault and forcible rape — fell for the fifth consecutive year.
Though violent crime is declining, the FBI said that it is still a serious problem in many urban areas. To name just two, Chicago had 431 murders and New York had 514 murders. Nationwide, in 2011, there were over 1.2 million violent crimes, down 3.8 percent from 2010. Property crime dropped a half percent from 2010 to 2011.
According to CNN, the statistics broke down the following crimes as follows:
- Murders were down 0.7 percent in 2011 from 2010
- Robberies were down 4 percent in 2011 from 2010
- Aggravated assaults were down 3.9 percent in 2011 from 2010
- Forcible rapes were down 2.5 percent in 2011 from 2010
CNN also reported that urban areas still saw serious problems because of drugs, poverty and gangs. Even with the positive trend over the past decade, there were still 14,612 murders across the United States during 2011, which is about one murder every 36 minutes. In 2010, there were 14,722 murders. The numbers from 2011 showed a decrease in murders from ten years ago.
According to CNN, most of the murder victims were males. It is unknown exactly how many murders occurred for each race, but of the known information, 50 percent of the victims were black and 46 percent were white.
As for weapons, guns were involved in two-thirds of the murders in 2011. Twenty-one percent of aggravated assaults involved guns, and 41 percent of robberies involved guns. Despite the positive trend, crime remains a serious problem in many urban pockets riddled with gangs, drugs and poverty.
CNN stated that criminologists have pointed to several factors for an explanation of the decrease in crime, including an increase in incarcerations, a “more settled” crack cocaine market and a population that is aging. The media source also stated that data-driving policing and in increase in surveillance/security cameras contributed to the decrease in crime.
However, a criminologist at Northeastern University stated that though crime is declining, it is declining as a slower rate this year than it has in past years. The criminologist calls it a “limbo stick effect,” and states that crime will never get down to zero.