Criminologists Shocked That Americans Didn’t Respond to the Recession by Burgling and Killing One Another

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Even though the United States has been socked by a terrible economy and high unemployment over the past few years, violent crimes across the country appear to be at the lowest rate in nearly 40 years. The odds of being murdered or robbed continue to go down and are now nationally less than half they were fewer than twenty years ago. The murder rate fell 4.4 percent last year countrywide, the rate of forcible rape fell 4.2 percent, and the rate of aggravated assaults 3.6 percent. Even burglary and auto theft were down. All while Americans fought off hardship and low morale from the recession. Criminologists interviewed by the Times called these statistics "striking" and "remarkable."

You know what wasn't "striking" or "remarkable," though? What happened to crime rates in New York City. Despite the national trends, the Big Apple saw "saw increases in all four types of violent lawbreaking — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — including a nearly 14 percent rise in murders."

Analysts say that over the past two decades, the city had been on a steeper downward trend when it came to crime than the rest of the nation, and because of that it's only natural that we'd experience a bounce. So don't worry too much — even though the city is 11 percent more murdery than it was last year, it's not nearly as murdery as it was in the early nineties!

Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts [NYT]