It isn’t hard to understand why many people might feel that crime in their city or state has gone up in recent years. With news coverage focused now more than ever on the topic , anyone tuning in for the nightly broadcast will likely see plenty of stories about the worst things happening in their neighborhoods.
In order to get a sense of how many people are more worried nowadays about crime in their city, the Safety.com data team took a survey of 1,620 US residents asking them for their perception of crime rates.
Of the 1,620 people surveyed:
- 42.7% of people feel that they are more worried about crime now than they were ten years ago.
- 26.3% of people feel that they are less worried about crime now than they were ten years ago.
- 31.1% of people feel the same about the crime rate compared to ten years ago or don’t know how they feel about the crime rate in comparison.
Despite the fact that a majority responded with more concern about crime than ten years ago, crime rates have seen a continued and steady decline over the last ten years.
In order to try and connect data between perception and reality, we reviewed FBI data from the Uniform Crime Reporting database and noticed major crime rate reductions across most decades and in almost all crime categories (violent crime, property crime).
According to the FBI’s report, violent crime is down from approximately 450 violent crimes per 100,000 people to about 360 violent crimes per 100,000 people over the last 10 years.
Property crime has seen a similar decline, from approximately 3,000 reported crimes per 100,000 people to 2,200 reported property crimes per 100,000 people over the last 10 years.
Does age or gender play a factor in perception of increased crime rates?
Below are some specific demographic breakdowns on the data collected from our survey:
- The majority of people 55+ are more worried about crime now than they were 10 years ago, with 54.2% responding as such.
- People younger than 35 split their votes evenly, with 33.5% saying they are more worried about crime, 27.8% saying they are less worried about crime, and 38.7% saying they feel about the same or don’t know.
- 47.8% of women responded that they are more worried about crime than they were 10 years ago. 37.2% of men responded that they are more worried about crime than they were 10 years ago.
When we broke the data down by state, some residents of specific states are more concerned about a perceived increase in crime than others, as noted in the map below:
It’s important to mention that spikes in local crime do occur and can alter peoples’ perceptions of the true crime rate on a longer time scale. As an example, the FBI notes small increases in some crime categories in the mid-2010s, but when zoomed out on a decade-by-decade basis, crime rates continue to fall consistently across the country.
- 1,620 US residents surveyed online and anonymously.
- 53.8% female, 46.2% male.
- When analyzed on a state-by-state basis, data wasn’t significant for New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia and thus left off of the mapped data.
- Data collected August 18th – 22nd.