NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Crime Down, But The Rate Drop Is Leveling Off

December 19, 2000

Serious crime declined in the first six months of 2000 compared with the same period in 1999, but it was the smallest decrease -- just three-tenths of one percent -- since the nations' crime rate began falling in 1992, according to a new FBI report.

  • While the number of murders fell 1.8 percent nationwide in the first half of the year, many cities -- including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and New Orleans -- had an increase for the first time since the early 1990s.
  • While robbery was down 2.6 percent, rape and aggravated assault were both up seven-tenths of one percent.
  • Burglary dropped 2.4 percent and arson was down 2.7 percent.
  • However, petty theft rose one-tenth of one percent and motor vehicle theft was up 1.2 percent.

Nationwide, crime fell in the Northeast, Midwest and West, but rose 1.2 percent in the South.

Many of the measures that brought about the crime drop are still in place, such as more criminals in prison, innovative police strategies and a waning of the crack cocaine epidemic and a strong economy. However, this year, the number of people in the age group that commits the most crime, 14-to-17-years-olds, has increased. According to one criminologist, we're just starting to see the baby boomer echo effect start to play out.

Source: Fox Butterfield, "Data Hint Crime Plunge May Be Leveling Off," New York Times; and Kevin Johnson, "'Party Over' As Decline in Crime Hits Bottom," USA Today, both December 19, 2000.


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