What does the evidence show?

Is the United States more violent? If you watch the news and political ads, you would likely answer yes, but what does the evidence say? My sources are FBI records, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics as part of the Census Bureau’s annual National Crime Victimization Survey. In these sources, the rate of violent victimization dropped from 79.8 per 1,000 in 1993 to 16.5 per 1,000 in 2021. The findings measure rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault. Between 2012 and 2021, this rate fell 9.6 cases per 1,000. In 2021, the share of violent incidents involving white, Black and Hispanic victims closely followed population percentages (white 61%, Black 12%, Hispanic 18%). In 2020 and 2021, there was a rise in murders but below previous highs.

Clearly there is a difference in reality and perception. Certainly, some areas have gotten worse and some better. Gallop surveys have shown that the majority of the public believe the rates have risen but in fact rates have declined. What are the factors that cause the distortion? The factors include media coverage I believe to capture audience share, political rhetoric intended to create emotional responses and partisanship, and the use of information the supports or implies a wanted outcome.

I believe that to be a healthy democracy with a diverse population culturally and religiously, we need to accept evidence acquired through nonpartisan research and science.

The answer to the question is clearly no.


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