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U.S. Violent Crime on the Rise: Where and Why

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by Countable | 10.10.18

  • Violent crime in the U.S. has been rising since 2014, despite the fact that overall crime has declined since 1980.
  • Murder rates vary greatly by city – St. Louis, Missouri had the highest murder rate in the U.S. in 2017.

Details

According to our partners at USAFacts, a non-partisan, not-for-profit civic initiative aimed at making government data accessible and understandable, reported violent crime in the U.S. rose in both 2015 and 2016 (the most recent year for which comprehensive data are available). Violent crime includes aggravated assault, robbery, murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and rape.

Aggravated assault is the most common crime, with a rate nearly five times higher than murder and non-negligent manslaughter. Robberies and assaults have greatly decreased since the early 1990s, while the murder rate has not changed significantly since 1980, according to USAFacts.

The rate of reported rapes had also been holding steady since 1980, but preliminary data indicate that it went up in 2017.

According to the annual Major Cities Chiefs Association Violent Crimes Survey – which features preliminary 2017 urban crime data – among violent crimes, rapes and aggravated assaults increased in major cities in 2017, while homicides, robberies, and murders decreased.

Where?

The data show which cities had the highest murder rates in 2017:

  1. St. Louis, Missouri: 64.9 murders per 100,000 people
  2. Baltimore, Maryland: 51.1 per 100,000
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana: 40.6 per 100,000
  4. Detroit, Michigan: 39.7 per 100,000
  5. Cleveland, Ohio: 33.7 per 100,000
  6. Las Vegas, Nevada: 31.4 per 100,000
  7. Kansas City, Missouri: 31.2 per 100,000
  8. Memphis, Tennessee: 27.1 per 100,000
  9. Newark, New Jersey: 25.6 per 100,000
  10. Chicago, Illinois: 24 per 100,000

Why?

Numerous complex factors account for criminal behavior, as well as for people’s willingness to report crimes.

For instance, some experts conjecture that the increase in rape reports could indicate not so much an increase in actual rapes, as an increase in the number of victims who report to the police. Rape is historically significantly underreported.

Some experts say that the war on drugs contributes to violence. Criminologists and law enforcement personnel alike acknowledge that the most common examples of “criminogenic trends” that generate increases in murder and other violent crimes are gang- and drug-related homicides.

A study published this week found that even small improvements in parents’ social mobility can significantly reduce the likelihood of children growing up to commit violent crimes. The chance of children eventually being convicted of violence is almost halved if their family moves from the poorest 20 percent of society to the next bracket up, the study found.

What do you think?

What should be done about violent crime? Tell your reps what you think, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / LPETTET

Countable

Written by Countable

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(43)
  • Jennifer
    10/10/2018
    ···

    We all know why violent crime is on the rise: the GOP, #IQ45, and their hateful, divisive speech rile up their “base” into thinking equal rights for everyone somehow means less for themselves. With the Bible clutched in one hand and an assault rifle in the other, these so called Christians have an uncanny resemblance to radical Islam. And they are being told it’s ok to hate by the current administration.

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  • Jillian
    10/10/2018
    ···

    I believe it has to do with wealth inequality. If our government would crack down on corporate corruption, tax companies and the rich and raise the minimum wage our country would see violence and crime decrease immensely. We live in the wealthiest country in the world, yet our poverty rate is sky high. Theres something incredibly wrong with that.

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  • Poli.Sci
    10/10/2018
    ···

    Crime has always been a problem and trends fluctuate greatly over time. Like this article says, if parents are able to move up the social bracket, the likelihood of their children committing a felony decreases greatly. Even if parents are not able to move up the social bracket but are a part of their children’s lives, I still believe the felony rate would go down. What surprises me is not the war on drugs portion but the fact that over crime is increasing, when the unemployment rate is falling. Petty crimes are at a record low but this data shows felony crimes rising, but ultimately, we must ask ourselves, why is that? I doubt the war on drugs is a large contributing factor and believe it has more to do with how people really feel about the national economy and the attitudes being swept up by BOTH parties. How it may be okay to do this but not that sort of rhetoric. If the United States needs to do anything, it needs to stop broadcasting to the population all the hate, and it is not just because President Trump came into office, it was happening before then too.

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  • Jennifer
    10/11/2018
    ···

    Although crime is a very complex issue and much must be taken in to account—and no it is not income inequality, which has always existed—does it escape anyone that ALL OF THESE CITIES ARE HEADED BY DEMOCRAT MAYORS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION? It did not escape me, and I assure you that law enforcements’ hands have been tied when dealing with crime, thus it has no place to go but up! Moreover, the rise began under Obama’s rule, not Trump’s.

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  • Noah
    10/10/2018
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    When the income gap widens, more people become desperate. If we cared half as much about taking care of the poor and disadvantaged as we did about punishing them, we would be reaping the social benefits of lower crime rates and less stressed and desperate Americans. Anyone who sees crime in black and white, as “good guys” and “bad guys” shouldn’t be anywhere near law enforcement.

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  • Taylor
    10/10/2018
    ···

    We need to do a much better job overall stopping violent crimes and don’t let democrat angry mobs get away with beating politicians up as well or civilians in the streets.

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  • Robert
    10/10/2018
    ···

    This is why I think the war on drugs should be ended. It’s worse than prohibition!

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  • David
    10/11/2018
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    Violent crime had been on a steady and uninterrupted decline for over three decades, however, the Obama Administration and Democrats across the country started a war on police officers and the violent crime rate reversed course. Add to this the insane practice by Democrat politicians of so called sanctuary cities and we now have powder kegs of crime awaiting a spark to ignite an explosion of violent crime in our major cities, cities controlled primarily by liberal Democrats.

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  • Tooluser1
    10/10/2018
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    There's no mystery here. *ALL* of the cities on this list are Democrat enclaves with repressive gun laws and stagnation economies, and have been for decades. Everywhere criminals feel safe due to repressive gun/self defense laws violent crime rises. They *know* they have a good chance of facing helpless, unarmed prey. Low income/low opportunity areas also concentrate crime due to hopelessness and the breakdown of family support stemming from Welfare's deliberate structuring to encourage single parent households. Also a key feature of Democrat enclaves. This creates a perfect storm to perpetuate the cycle of poverty and crime. High density housing has been *proven* in study after study to increase antisocial behavior, mental illness, and crime. Yet liberals push for this type of community consistently because it creates a dependent voting population and concentrates tax revenues. The "war on poverty" was never about poverty. All it has EVER accomplished was to incentivize welfare dependence.

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  • Barb
    10/10/2018
    ···

    Where’s the safe country fake potus promised? Constant election ego-feeding rallies aren’t traits of good leadership. White supremacy is rising. All others are attacked. What else should we expect as long as Putin’s boy is in power???

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  • James
    10/10/2018
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    Hire a lot more Police and let them do their job! Enough said? Get tough on these Punks!

    Like (6)
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  • MAGAnificent
    10/11/2018
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    Here's a forecast. With the lefts rhetoric of violence, the 2018 numbers will sky rocket!

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  • kohoutek
    10/10/2018
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    Among other things, crime is a byproduct of opportunity — but not in the way you might think. It's the lack of opportunity for these communities that propagates crime and violence. Generations of Americans have been/are being left behind and left with few options for upward mobility. We need to break the self-destructive cycle.

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  • tituswife
    10/11/2018
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    USAFacts is not nonpartisan. FBI statistics (on which crime statistics in this country are based), tell a different story. The top murder rate cities? - run by Democrats. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/violent-crime/violent-crime

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  • Jan
    10/10/2018
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    Sanctuary cities need to be abolished, there is nothing worse than criminals having shelter.

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  • John
    10/10/2018
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    There needs to be a real way for people to move up economically and socially. There needs to be way fewer guns everywhere in this country. There needs to be meaningful educational reform.

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  • Guy
    10/10/2018
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    It’s no surprise that the areas with the most crime also have a large concentration of poverty.

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  • Denise
    10/10/2018
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    One of the best ways to reduce crime is through education. Better education affords better job prospects, therefore less need for criminal activity. Additionally, better income would reduce crime. One of the major income vacuums in our society is healthcare. Universal healthcare would eliminate out of pocket expenses. But an uptick in crime is also attributable to the rise in hate crimes, fueled by our current administration’s own hateful, bigoted, misogynistic views.

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  • Mindful
    10/10/2018
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    How stupid can you, our so-called Legislators be. Look at the corrupt con man heading our government who constantly advocates and promotes violence at his self-aggrandizing ‘mob-like’ gatherings. Aren’t you listening? His sycophantic lemming-like minority freely act out his urging them to do violence. MOB-LIKE, to be sure. Unthinking, for certain. The atmosphere is replete with his venomous mouthing off. This only validates ‘do unto others whatever you damn well want to do’. It’s OK by him! Remember, Trump has not expanded his insipid minority. We, the Majority will ultimately prevail. Lets start this November.

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  • Draphilius
    10/10/2018
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    If more folks had drastically improved access to mental/health care, improved infrastructure, education and a decent living wage it would make a noticeable difference for the better. Living in a society that treats everyone well and with equal opportunity provides better motivation to invest in its well-being than detriment.

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