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December 21, 2009

Good news on 2009 crime rates from the FBI

As detailed in this Reuters report, the FBI released some exciting data concerning crime rates for the first half of 2009.  Here are the details:

Violent crime in the United States, including murder and robbery, dropped 4.4 percent in the first half of 2009 and property crime like car thefts also dropped, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.

The latest statistics suggest U.S. violent crime could drop for a third full year in a row, a steady decline despite the harsh economic recession that some policymakers and police groups had feared would lead to an upward spike....

The number of murders fell 10 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2008, while robbery declined 6.5 percent and forcible rape dropped 3.3 percent, according to preliminary statistics released by the FBI.  Violent crime in all of 2008 fell 1.9 percent from 2007.

But in some cities hit hard by the economy, like Baltimore and Detroit, the murder rate climbed.  In Detroit, hurt by the auto industry's woes, there were 163 murders reported in the first six months of 2009 versus 146 during the same period in 2008.

But other cities where murder rates had been high, like New York and Los Angeles, saw a drop off. In New York, there was a drop from 252 murders in 2008 to 204 reported during the first half of 2009....

The overall decline was not limited to violent crime.  Property crimes dropped 6.1 percent during the first six months of 2009, with vehicle theft plummeting 18.7 percent and burglary falling 2.5 percent, the FBI statistics showed.  Reported cases of arson fell during the first half of 2009, dropping 8.2 percent from the same period in 2008.

In addition to being very encouraging, these data should also be very confounding to anyone who thinks that any single or simple factor helps explain variations in crime rates.  Notably, as detailed in this recent post, the total US prison population may have declined during 2009, and thus the (too) easy suggestion than more prisoners means less crime does not effectively account for the 2009 crime drop.  And, of course, the economy and unemployment rates were rough in 2009, but this did not produce any (often predicted) uptick in crime.

Relatedly, as detailed in this press release from folks at the Second Amendment Foundation, the relative lack of crimes cannot be attributed to a relative lack of guns:

A ten percent drop in murders during the first six months of this year at a time when gun sales were up dramatically is more proof that there is no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime, the Second Amendment Foundation said today....

"What this shows," said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, "is that gun prohibitionists are all wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone.  Perhaps violent criminals were actually discouraged by all of those gun sales earlier this year, because the media made a point of reporting the booming gun market.

"Anti-gunners," he continued, "have lost another one of their baseless arguments. Millions of Americans bought guns during the first six months of this year, many of them for the first time.  Yet with all of those new guns in circulation, coupled with an increased demand for concealed carry licenses around the country, the streets have not been awash in blood, as gun banners repeatedly predict.

Whatever the reasons for the continued downward trend in crime, we should all be content to celebrate the good news and hope that US law and policy continues to do whatever happens to be working.

December 21, 2009 at 10:01 PM | Permalink


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There's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on among the heads of criminologists, as FBI figures show a drop in crime despite tough economic times. This AP article by Devlin Barrett is most remarkable for the factor that the experts... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 22, 2009 5:14:54 PM

» The Elephant in the Crime Stats Living Room from Crime and Consequences Blog
There's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on among the heads of criminologists, as FBI figures show a drop in crime despite tough economic times. This AP article by Devlin Barrett is most remarkable for the factor that the experts... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 22, 2009 5:16:02 PM


Reuters is a notorious, lying, biased left wing propaganda outlet. These reports are coming out to support the Commie in Chief, Barack Obama. They are left wing garbage as a rebuttable presumption.

This particular measure of crime has no validity. If my performance as a police leader were being measured by the crime rate in my district, the best way to enhance my position would be to throw crime reports in the trash, or to expel crime victims and their pesky reports from my precinct house.

The sole valid measure of crime is the household survey of criminal victimization.

Much of the violent crime involved drug addiction, fighting over territory, and robbing people to pay for drugs. The war on drugs has been so lost as to cause a huge drop in price, where there is no need to get out of the house to rob people. It's no DiGiorno when it comes to drugs, it is delivery.

The murder rate which is the most reliable of all crime counts has been dropped by trauma care advances, many learned in Iraq. The drop in murder may exceed the number of people killed over there, giving us an unintended benefit of war, saving the lives of trauma victims.

I still feel murder can be as unreliable in its count as rape. There are 100,000 unresolved missing persons reports a year. The murder number may not be 17,000 but 70,000. I mean, if you are the least bit conscientious, when your murder the person, you clean up, and properly dispose of the body.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 21, 2009 10:44:04 PM

Crime is still far too high. Too many career and violent criminals are released too early. I believe that, properly done, the death penalty deters murder, so I am hopeful that 2010 produces a lot more executions.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 22, 2009 9:07:54 AM

fedealist. I too can hardly wait. Let's both bring our folding chairs and knitting so we can do a Madam LaFarge thing as they inject the bastards one after another.

Posted by: anon | Dec 22, 2009 12:53:05 PM

I suspect your post, anon, is meant to imply that I am a bloodthirsty heartless human being. If the death penalty does deter, then your position sacrifices innocent people for the sake of murderers. And I'm bloodthirsty?

In any event, I simply believe that death is an appropriate penalty for murder, and I would support a regime where the default penalty is death for murder. I don't think that the execution of a killer, something which, throughout human history has been de rigeur, is really that big of a deal (innocence issues aside, of course). You choose to kill--you choose to die. And I think all this masturbatory hand-wringing over "a man's life at stake" is simply squeamishness masquerading as morality. I, for one, think that the guilty/not guilty choice for a petty offense is a far bigger deal than imposing death on a murderer, and I for one would lose a hell of a lot more sleep over adjudicating one of my fellow citizens as a criminal than I would worrying about the life of a murderer.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 22, 2009 3:22:50 PM

Addiction, violence, civil liberties,crack cocaine, poverty, 2010 Olympics, drugs, prostitution, heroin, homelessness; and their impact on Vancouver's Black Eye, The Downtown Eastside.

More than 2 million syringes are handed out free every year. Clean mouthpieces for crack pipes are provided at taxpayers’ expense. Around 4,000 opiate addicts get prescription methadone. Thousands come to the injection site every year.

addiction is a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning and develops physical dependence, as in drug addiction. When the drug or substance on which someone is dependent is suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms. Addiction is generally associated with increased drug tolerance common usage of the term addiction has spread to include psychological dependence. In this context, the term is used in drug addiction and substance abuse problems

Impelled by the horror show of the Downtown East Side, prodded by activists and convinced by reams of academic studies, the police and city government have agreed to provide hard drug users with their paraphernalia, a place to use it and even, for a few, the drugs themselves.

The Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction

Not for the faint-hearted, this video is graphic and shocking and shows the depths of depravity that the human soul can descend to.

After 11 months of sobriety from cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs this individuals mental state has sunk to an almost animal-like existence.


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This website is dedicated to telling the stories of the unfortunate individuals living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver in the hope that awareness of this problem will spur people to get involved, to let all levels of government know that something has to be done to alleviate this misery rooted in addiction, homelessness and depravity. To point the way to recovery from addiction, which we believe is the root of most of this situation. With the 2010 Olympics coming to Vancouver it is our mandate to record the transition and the extreme changes that are even now occurring and will continue to unfold in the Downtown Eastside.


Posted by: RECOVERED ADDICT | Dec 22, 2009 6:29:28 PM

federalist --

Well let's face it, you ARE Madam LaFarge. As was John Milton, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Eisenhower, etc., et al.

Oh wait! I forgot. I'm not supposed to mention that men who contributed greatly to civilization supported the death penalty. The REASON I'm not supposed to is somewhat unclear, since abolitionists have yet to explain why their moral vision is superior to these men, but, you know, whatever. As long as one can breathlessly declare one's Advanced Enlightenment, there's no need to ponder why people who actually showed advanced enlightenment were so very wrong.

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