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CRS – Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing?

Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing? Nathan James, Analyst in Crime Policy, October 29, 2015.

“On August 31, 2015, the New York Times ran an article with the headline “Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities.” The story highlighted double-digit percent age increases in homicide rates in several cities, and came on the heels of reports from other media outlets of recent spike s in violent crime n cities across the country. Accounts of rising violent crime rates in some cities have generated speculation about whether the United States is in the midst of a new crime wave. Overall, homicide and violent crime rates have been trending downward for more than two decades, and both rates are at historic lows. An analysis comparing 2014 and 2015 homicide data from the nation’s 60 most populous cities suggests that violent crime is not increasing . O verall , reported homicides were up 16% in 2015 , but a majority of cities (44 of 60) have not seen a statistically significant increase in homicides. The general consensus is that it is too early to draw any conclusions about the reversal of long-term trends. Also, even if homicide and violent crime rates do increase this year, it may not portend a break in the long-term trend. Even though both rates have been on a downward trend since 1990, there were years where either the homicide rate or violent crime rate increased…”

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