Rising Crime?

Much has been said lately about rising crime in the U.S. But how accurate are these claims?

Is Crime Increasing Or Decreasing? Yes.

Crime is on the rise. Massive spikes in crime. This is something you’ve undoubtedly heard. I hear it all the time. Is it accurate though? Well, in a way, yes. But also, no, not at all.

What if I told you the crime rate has been approaching both record highs and record lows at the same time? Now, I’m sure you’re asking, how is that possible? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers to find out. 

Using Crime Incident Data

The data come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Summary Reporting System (SRS). This is what is usually used when discussing crime incidents as it comes from official police records. 

Does it represent all crime that occurs in the U.S.? No. 

The UCR only includes four specific types of violent crime: (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault). Along with four types of property crime (larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft (with its own separate category), burglary, and arson).

What do all these crimes have in common? They’re all street crimes. Other crimes that don’t occur on the street, like fraud or cybercrime, are not represented here. It also doesn’t include drug crimes, which make up a large portion of all the crime that occurs.

Dark Figure of Crime

And, these are known crimes; incidents that have been reported to police, recorded by police agencies as crime, and then reported to the FBI. There’s a massive amount of crime not captured here, commonly referred to as the “dark figure” of crime.

Long-Term Trends

So, these data are limited. But, they’re the most useful we have for tracking long-term trends in street crime.

Learn more about the strengths and limitations of common measures of crime, including the UCR.

Check out this video to learn more!

Recent Posts