NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Crime Down In Some Areas, Up In Others

July 30, 1999

Taking another look at crime statistics, it becomes clear that not all U.S. areas and states are benefiting equally from dramatically lower national crime rates.

Nationally, crime rates now stand at just about the level they were in 1974 -- although they are still two-and-a-half times higher than in 1960. But among the states, some have seen dramatic drops in crime rates compared to 1974, while others have had dramatic increases (although some of the states with increasing crime still have rates below the national average).

Here are some of the changes in crime per 100,000 population from 1974 to 1997:

  • The most dramatic increases occurred in the deep South -- with Mississippi leading the increase at 105.9 percent.
  • Except for Florida, crime was up over 31 percent in all the Southern states extending from North Carolina to New Mexico.
  • Massachusetts led the nation in crime decline over the period -- falling by 31.7 percent.
  • Crime declined by 28.9 percent in California, 24.6 percent in Michigan, 19.5 percent in New York and 15 percent in New Jersey.

For the most part, crime was down in the Western-most states -- with the exception of Utah, where it increased 21.1 percent.

Nationally, crime increased 3.6 percent over the period.

Source: Peter Brimelow, "Charticle: Is Your Neighborhood Safer?" Forbes, August 9, 1999.


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