Crime has declined by a lot

Posted on April 2, 2024

Right-wingers have been attacking progressives and Democrats, as usual, over the issue of crime. But, in fact, crime is down across the nation. Murder, especially, has declined substantially both comparing 2022 to 2023 and comparing the first quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024.

When murder rates spiked up during COVID, it was amplified by the kind of media that regularly lead the news with crime. And for those Americans who get their news almost exclusively online, news aggregator algorithms have made it seem like crime is everywhere, all the time, and always rising.

But, according to the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, crime is down across the country. And it’s a substantial decline.

  • There were 12 percent fewer murders in 2023 compared to 2022, the largest one-year decline ever recorded.
  • Violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon) was down 6 percent in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • Property crime (theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, burglary) was down 4 percent in 2023 compared to 2022.

This is based on reports from 15,199 of 19,152 law enforcement agencies nationwide covering 82 percent of the US population. The FBI also published city-by-city reports comparing 2023 to 2022. For example:

  • Albuquerque, murder down 126 to 98, violent crime down from 7,765 in 2022 to 6,680 in 2023
  • Baltimore, murder down 321 to 225, violent crime down from 9,484 in 2022 to 8,092 in 2023
  • Cincinnati, murder down 73 to 57, violent crime down from 2,598 in 2022 to 2,124 in 2023
  • Cleveland, murder down 146 to 139, violent crime down from 5,906 in 2022 to 5,766 in 2023
  • Denver, murder down 90 to 85, violent crime down from 7,571 in 2022 to 7,247 in 2023
  • Detroit, murder down 311 to 246, violent crime down from 12,698 in 2022 to 12,565 in 2023
  • Las Vegas, murder down 146 to 131, violent crime down from 8,632 in 2022 to 7,712 in 2023
  • Minneapolis, murder down 79 to 73, violent crime down from 5,196 in 2022 to 4,767 in 2023
  • New York City, murder down 438 to 338, violent crime down from 61,293 in 2022 to 53,687 in 2023
  • Philadelphia, murder down 518 to 402, violent crime down from 16,343 in 2022 to 15,153 in 2023
  • Portland OR, murder down 94 to 74, violent crime down from 4,885 in 2022 to 4,384 in 2023
  • St. Louis, murder down 200 to 158, violent crime down from 4,279 in 2022 to 4,026 in 2023

Crime is not down in every city, but it’s an overwhelming nationwide trend. You can look up your own city (if they’ve reported to the FBI) by going to the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, click “Download Quarterly Table Data” and look at Table 4.

In addition to the 2022 versus 2023 comparison, murder is down by an astonishing 20 percent from the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023. In general, other types of crime are also down in 2024 compared to 2023. Only some cities publish this information, but see, for example:

Chicago: YTD murder is down from 117 in 2023 to 111 in 2024 (-5%) and YTD total crime is down from 17,610 in 2023 to 15,459 in 2024 (-12%)

New York City: YTD murder is down from 99 in 2023 to 82 in 2024 (-17%) and YTD total crime is down from 29,379 in 2023 to 28,668 in 2024 (-2%)

Philadelphia: YTD murder is down from 106 in 2023 to 69 in 2024 (-35%) and YTD total crime is down from 21,660 in 2023 to 18,713 in 2024 (-14%)

Washington, DC: YTD murder is down from 43 in 2023 to 32 in 2024 (-26%) and YTD total crime is down from 7,649 in 2023 to 6,701 in 2024 (-12%)

Why did violent crime and especially murder go down so dramatically? If we are honest, we have to say there is no evidence that proves cause-and-effect. But we can clearly prove what didn’t cause it because the following factors either didn’t happen or happened in only a few places:

  • It’s not more police on the streets.
  • It’s not longer criminal sentences.
  • It’s not higher prosecution rates.
  • It’s not any violence intervention program.
  • It’s not any police tactic.
  • In fact, it cannot be any local program at all.

Crime, especially murder, went up during COVID in a nationwide wave, and crime, especially murder, came down afterwards. We don’t know why; we can only guess that it was related to COVID and perhaps fewer things for antisocial young people to do.

Nevertheless, the trend is extremely important. The question is, can we get our own newspapers, TV news stations, and other mainstream news sources to cover this story?