In a case the reiterates that not everyone can be wrong all the time, Vox has an interesting piece up about crime rates that could neatly tie up why, despite violent crime starting a decline from the COVID-Riot spike, fear of it is up.
In 2020, after the police-involved killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, millions of Americans took to the streets for months to demand police reform. Almost three and a half years later, a report of national crime data, compiled and published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, indicates that police departments nationwide have changed — for the worse. The data says cops are solving fewer crimes today than they did then. –Vox
Violent crime jumped sharply in the summer of 2020 and went higher in the next two years. At the same time the clearance rate on crimes plummeted. More crime were happening and less of them were being solved. If more crimes were happening but they were being solved at an equal or greater rate, the perception of crime would likely be different.
The social attitudes that generated this change are complex. The “Defund” and other police reform movements have not landed for the better.
Murder clearance dropped 15% from about a 60% clearance rate to only 52%, that along with being able to count a crime from any year as a solve against the current year crimes pads the stats in an interesting way depending upon how the data is presented. Violent crime clearance as a whole dropped 20% while occurrences are still up 1.6% from 2019. That is down from the initial spike in 2020 of 5.9%, but with that clearance rate drop far more of those crimes are going unsolved.
Property crimes, already a low clearance rate, dropped an astonishing 30% in clearance rate going from 17% to only 12%. So even as we get to a point where violent crime ‘rates’ are back to declining, the number of crimes being “solved” is not confidence inspiring and confidence in the catch and release justice system impression is very high right now. This remains true even for egregious crimes like homicide.
“You think this juvenile [expletive] is gonna do some [expletive]? I’ll be out in 30 days, I’ll bet you.”
“It’s just ah, [expletive] ah, hit-and-run — slap on the wrist.” – Jesus Ayala, intentionally struck and killed a retired police chief in Las Vegas.
To put it in simple mathematical terms, if you have a community that saw 100 murders in a year (so like a six times more peaceful than Chicago) it saw 106, 105, and 102 the following years but went from having 60 of those 100 solved to only 52 or 53. The “felt” rate of homicides is much more like a 10 to 12% increase. To look at Chicago specifically their homicide rate jumped 52% in 2020, it remained 41% elevated in 2022 and is still on pace for 22% above for 2023. Combine that with a clearance rate drop and that is not a recipe for confidence in your criminal deterence.
So why are Americans more afraid of violent crime? it might be just as much resolutions than rates related.