Yesterday, I mentioned that crime rates were rising and one of my readers called me out on it. Admittedly, it was ambiguous because it was not put into context.
The national average for crimes rates is rising, but very slowly. The problem is that the data is also ambiguous because of changes in reporting methods (rapes increased significantly in 2016 when the FBI changed their criteria for sexual assaults) and lack of reporting (no one cares that there were more murders in Columbia, Missouri in 2016 than in 2015).
We compare crime on a year to year basis. The majority of it comes from our larger cities. Smaller cities and some sheriff’s departments do not actually report crime stats to the FBI or the Bureau of Statistics to be reported.
Historically speaking, 1990 was one of the worst violent crime years ever. Our three largest cities; New York City (2,245 homicides), Los Angeles (983), and Chicago (851), had a combined total of 4,079 homicides.
Jump ahead to 2014, the reported number of homicides for New York City has dropped to an astonishing 328. Los Angeles had dropped to 551 homicides and Chicago to 432 homicides. Those numbers are still much lower than in 1990 and they are still lower than the rate in 2013.
Moving into this year though, Chicago seems to be having some issues. At the end of August, Los Angeles and New York City had reported only 340 total homicides for 2016. Chicago had 471 for 2016.
Las Vegas’s homicide rate for 2016 is also up from last year. The same is true of Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle, and Boston. However, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, San Diego, and Jacksonville are all down. Of course, if you look at the per capita, Detroit is still the most dangerous city in the US with 45 homicides per 100,000 people.
It seems for 2016, at least right now, there are as many cities reporting increases as decreases.