If you were to read or watch the news, you would get a very bleak picture of what is going on in the world right now. Every time you turn around, you hear another story of someone being murdered, a break-in, or some other criminal spree. Whether these are happening near you or not, it can be demoralizing. But is crime really on the rise in the United States right now?
How is Crime Reported
To understand if crime is on the rise, you need to understand how crime is reported and whether these reports are complete. Some types of crime, such as murder, are reported fairly accurately, while other crimes, such as rape or burglaries are not always reported, which means that the full picture is not always there. Crime reports rely on police reports, and if there is no report, it won’t be included on in the overall statistics. This fact makes it very difficult to figure out what the true crime statistics are.
What are the Most Common Crimes?
Interestingly enough, the top three most common crimes are actually not inherently violent crimes. Larceny-theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft make up the most common crime in the United States. Rounding out the top five are aggravated assault and robbery, which includes violence as part of the theft.
So What is the Current Trend?
If you look at a small snapshot of the past couple years, it does look like crime is on the rise. After all, the FBI has been reporting that murder rates have been rising for the past few years, which is understandably worrying. However, if you look at a broader picture, it doesn’t look nearly as bad. Over the past 25 years, crime has fallen off sharply in all areas, with a minor uptick in the last few years. Even with the rise in violent crimes, we are still well below what crime rates were in the early 1990s.
Does it Matter Where I Live?
If you are looking to avoid crime, the state you choose to live in and the neighborhood your home is in play a huge role in how safe you will be. For instance, California has higher rates of motor vehicle theft, robbery, and property crime rates than the national average, according to ADT. Do your research before you move to a new place to avoid ending up somewhere you are constantly at risk.
It can be difficult to pin down exactly what is going on with crime rates, especially because of issues with reporting. But whatever the true numbers are, the United States is still significantly better off than it was even just a decade ago. It’s not perfect, but we are making strides towards a safer society.