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September 2, 2009

Good news on crime victimization rates in 2008

Various folks expressed concern that the down-turn in the economy in 2008 could and likely would lead to an increase in crimes.  But, as this DOJ press release details, the latest, greatest statistics suggest that crime victimization decreased from 2007 to 2008.  Here is the encouraging news from the start of the press release:

The violent crime rate in 2008 — 19.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older — was unchanged from the previous year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, announced today.  The property crime rate declined during 2008 from 147 to 135 crimes per 1,000 households, primarily as a result of decreases in theft and motor vehicle theft.

In 2008, an estimated 4.9 million violent crimes (rapes or sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated assaults and simple assaults) occurred, as well as an estimated 16.3 million property crimes (burglaries, motor vehicle thefts and household thefts) and 137,000 personal thefts (picked pockets and snatched purses).  These offenses included both crimes reported and unreported to police.  With the exception of theft and motor vehicle theft, victimization rates for every type of crime measured were unchanged from the 2007 levels.

Violent and property crime rates in 2008 remain at the lowest levels recorded since 1973, the first year that such data were collected.  The rate of every major violent and property crime measured by BJS fell between 1999 and 2008.  The overall violent crime rate fell 41 percent and the property crime rate declined by 32 percent during the last 10 years.

The full statistical report is available in this new publication, which is titled "Criminal Victimization, 2008."  Now we can begin the usual debate over who and what accounts for (1) the fact that crime is now at record low levels in the US, and (2) the fact that there are still, on average, tens of thousands of serious crimes every single day in the US.

September 2, 2009 at 12:18 PM | Permalink


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» Crime Rate Confusion from Crime and Consequences Blog
This AP story says, "The Justice Department says the rate of violent crime in the United States held steady in 2008." The Bureau of Justice Statistics press release says largely the same thing. Going to the actual report, however, we... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2009 7:11:23 PM


4.9 million violent crimes is scary. The implication is that the criminal justice system cannot deal with crime, or perhaps the public does not think it can and so does not report. An interesting follow up would be ask one or more additional questions in reference to the unreported to police crimes.

1) Do you think the perpetrator should be imprisoned in state or federal prison for the crime?

2) If not, do you think a sentence to a year or less in county jail would be sufficient to serve justice?

3) If neither of the above, does this mean you do not think the offense serious enough to warrant jail or prison?

This followup would help answer several interesting questions. 1) Is the threat exaggerated? 2) Are victims as punitive as some would have us believe? 3) Is the current rate of incarceration sufficient for most of these victims or should the rate be more or less than the current rate in their view?

I have no idea what the results would be but it would be interesting to know for sure.

Posted by: George | Sep 2, 2009 1:36:34 PM

Is treason very hard to prove

Posted by: twin | Sep 11, 2009 1:38:25 PM

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