Op-Ed

Daily chart: Crime in America’s big cities is almost universally falling

Main image: DURING the presidential debate on September 26th Donald Trump, the bombastic Republican nominee, was asked by the moderator how he might heal the divide between African-American communities and the police. “We need law and order”, he replied, “We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African-Americans, Hispanics, are living in hell because it′s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.”At first glance Mr Trump could be forgiven for thinking the situation is dire. Fresh data released by the FBI on the same day as the debate show that America’s murder rate increased by 10% in 2015 compared with the previous year. The violent-crime rate was up by 3%. Despite this uptick, the longer-term trend is far rosier. The prevalence of murder has halved since the early 1990s and, with the exception of last year’s figures, violent crime remains at its lowest level since 1971. Property crime fell over that period, too.Mr Trump’s concerns about inner cities also look overblown. Of the 15,696 murders last year, 4,054 were committed in one of America’s 30 largest cities. That tally represents 26% of the national total, down from 29% in 2005. And the change in the crime rate for those cities between 2004-05 and 2014-15—using two years of data makes comparisons more reliable—shows ...

Main image:

DURING the presidential debate on September 26th Donald Trump, the bombastic Republican nominee, was asked by the moderator how he might heal the divide between African-American communities and the police. “We need law and order”, he replied, “We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African-Americans, Hispanics, are living in hell because it′s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.”At first glance Mr Trump could be forgiven for thinking the situation is dire. Fresh data released by the FBI on the same day as the debate show that America’s murder rate increased by 10% in 2015 compared with the previous year. The violent-crime rate was up by 3%. Despite this uptick, the longer-term trend is far rosier. The prevalence of murder has halved since the early 1990s and, with the exception of last year’s figures, violent crime remains at its lowest level since 1971. Property crime fell over that period, too.Mr Trump’s concerns about inner cities also look overblown. Of the 15,696 murders last year, 4,054 were committed in one of America’s 30 largest cities. That tally represents 26% of the national total, down from 29% in 2005. And the change in the crime rate for those cities between 2004-05 and 2014-15—using two years of data makes comparisons more reliable—shows …

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Daily chart: Crime in America’s big cities is almost universally falling