28 September 2015

Crime Rates Continued To Fall In 2014

There were statistically significant reductions in many categories of crime tracked by the FBI in 2014 relative to 2013, continuing a long sustained period of declining crime rates (see the full report).
In 2014, an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes occurred nationwide....the 2014 estimated violent crime total was....16.2 percent below the 2005 level [ed. a 21.2% decline in the violent crime rate]....

In 2014, there were an estimated 8,277,829 property crime offenses in the nation....The 10-year trend showed that property crime offenses decreased 18.6 percent in 2014 when compared with the 2005 estimate. In 2014, the rate of property crime was estimated at 2,596.1 per 100,000 inhabitants....The 2014 property crime rate was...24.3 percent less than the 2005 estimate....Property crimes in 2014 resulted in losses estimated at $14.3 billion.
The per capita loss from property crimes in the United States in 2014 was $43.  The per capita GDP in the U.S. in 2014 was about $54,597.  Thus, per capita losses from property crimes make up less than 0.01% of per capita GDP.

Crime rates peaked in the early 1990s. They have been falling more or less steadily for more than 20 years, and the statistics above only capture about half of the decline. The homicide rate peaked in 1991 at 9.8 per 100,000 and is now 4.5 per 100,000, a drop of 54.1% in 23 years.  Current homicide rates are the lowest that they have been since the 1950s (the homicide rate was 4.6 per 100,000 in 1962).

The latest recidivism rates, however, are quite dismal, which suggests that mass incarceration may be having more of an impact on crime rates than many would like to believe. It is certainly possible to more effectively reduce recidivism than we do, as a various pilot projects have demonstrated, but sustaining a criminal justice program that is not just lenient, but is genuinely rehabilitative and supportive politically is not an easy task.

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