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June 9, 2008

FBI reports that violent and property crime was down in 2007

Good news on the crime front, as detailed in pieces from the AP and Reuters and ABC News: according to FBI data, violent and property crime trended down in 2007 .  Here are the basics from the Reuters story:

U.S. violent crimes like murders and rapes decreased by 1.4 percent in 2007 after two years of increases that caused concern among criminal justice experts, the FBI reported on Monday.

All four violent crime categories declined nationwide in 2007 from prior-year levels, the FBI said. Rape decreased by 4.3 percent, murder and manslaughter dropped by 2.7 percent while robberies and aggravated assaults fell by 1.2 percent. The FBI also reported property crimes, such as burglary, larceny, theft and motor vehicle theft, were down by 2.1 percent last year.

The latest numbers appear to show that the two years of increases in violent crimes — 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.3 percent in 2005 — represented just a temporary upswing rather than the start of a long-term trend of more crime.

These data are especially interesting against the backdrop of the decrease in executions and death sentences in both 2006 and 2007.  Of course, some may link this good news to the ever-increasing US prison population.  And everyone should always appreciate the uncertain (and perhaps non-existent) link between punishment realities and crime levels.

June 9, 2008 at 03:16 PM | Permalink


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The thing to note about the link to incarceration is that the region with the greatest violent crime decrease, the Northeast, is the area with the lowest rates, and the one area with a violent crime increase, the South, is the area with the largest. And murder rates increased in cities of one size and decreased in cities of other sizes. Prison will stop some offenders some of the time. Other policies stop more crime and more victimization better. They just don't make us feel as good doing them. The thing to decide is which is more important.

Posted by: Michael Connelly | Jun 10, 2008 8:46:35 AM

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