Murder and Violent Crime Are Declining Again

The latest crime figures are out from the FBI, and both murder and violent crime in general ticked down in 2017 after rising for a couple of years:

Property crime (burglary, theft, etc.) was also down, continuing a steady downward trend of over two decades:

Crime data always has some noise in it, and small spikes up and down generally don’t mean anything. There really was a small spike in murder rates in 2015 and 2016, mostly due to sudden large increases in a handful of big cities, but we still don’t really know what caused it. However, it appears that the spike is over, and murder is probably now returning to its old trendline.

BY THE WAY: Since someone is bound to ask, none of the recent data has anything to do with lead. The decline in lead poisoning of small children was responsible for much of the overall decline in crime from 1991 to 2010, but it has nothing to do with small spikes from year to year or city to city. At this point, lead has probably had all the effect it’s going to have, and further changes in the crime rate have other causes.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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