Murder and Violent Crime Are Declining Again

The latest crime figures are out from the FBI, and both murder and violent crime in general ticked down in 2017 after rising for a couple of years:

Property crime (burglary, theft, etc.) was also down, continuing a steady downward trend of over two decades:

Crime data always has some noise in it, and small spikes up and down generally don’t mean anything. There really was a small spike in murder rates in 2015 and 2016, mostly due to sudden large increases in a handful of big cities, but we still don’t really know what caused it. However, it appears that the spike is over, and murder is probably now returning to its old trendline.

BY THE WAY: Since someone is bound to ask, none of the recent data has anything to do with lead. The decline in lead poisoning of small children was responsible for much of the overall decline in crime from 1991 to 2010, but it has nothing to do with small spikes from year to year or city to city. At this point, lead has probably had all the effect it’s going to have, and further changes in the crime rate have other causes.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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