From Washington to Oregon, to Vermont, states across the country are tallying lower crime rates over the past few years. Even in 2009, amidst economic downturn, cities like Los Angeles, Dallas and New York have seen a dramatic reduction in violent crime.
“In much of Los Angeles County and elsewhere in Southern California crime has dropped significantly so far this year, despite an economic meltdown that has pushed unemployment into double digits, imploded the housing market and shuttered countless businesses,” exclaimed the LA Times last month.
New York City’s crime rate for the first three months of 2009 was the lowest in more than 40 years, which “defied fears that the sinking economy might send the city back into the bad old days of rampant murders and rough streets,” said the New York Daily News three weeks ago.
More Astonishing Statistics:
“Homicides are down almost 23 percent in Memphis so far in 2009, part of a trend that has seen a near 10 percent decrease in rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor-vehicle theft and arson,” according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Tampa‘s crime rate has plummeted 46 percent in the past six years, a decrease not seen since the 1970s, Mayor Pam Iorio announced recently.
A report out of Milwaukee in April said nearly 1,600 fewer people were victims of violent crime in the city in the first three months of 2009. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn announced crime numbers in the city were down 17 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from the same time period last year.
Often these declines are part of a decade-long trend, like in New York City where overall crime has been decreasing for decades. Since 1991, the city has seen a continuous fifteen-year trend of decreasing crime. Neighborhoods that were once considered dangerous are now much safer. 2007 marked the first year since 1963 that total homicides were fewer than 500.
Dallas saw crime fall 10 percent in 2008, exceeding the city’s goal, and Police Chief David Kunkle said the trend will continue. “We believe that we can see another 10 percent reduction in crime” in 2009.
San Diego crime rates dropped in the first half of 2007, continuing a decade-long trend. Homicides were down almost 20 percent from the same period last year, as were reported rapes, while overall, the number of crimes fell 3 percent, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.
As for states like Oregon, Washington and Vermont, falling crime rates continue to encourage amidst tougher economic times. On Tuesday, Kelso, Oregon Police Chief Wayne Nelson reported that the city’s overall crime rate marked a seven-year low in 2008. Crime in Kelso is down 29 percent since 2002.
The latest data available for Longview has been equally encouraging. This city’s crime rate dropped by 24 percent between 2003 and 2006, then declined another 19 percent the following year.
Crime in Vermont was already dropping in 2007, wrote the Boston Globe , with reports of violent crime, property crime, and drug crime all dropping.
And, finally, statistics from the 2008 Washington Uniform Crime Report released last week in Washington showed a 5.8% decrease compared to 2007 — down 7.2% per capita.
Within specific counties, Cowlitz County’s 2008 crime rate was down nearly 12 percent from the previous year. It was no one-year fluke, either. Crime rate has plummeted 43 percent over the past five years.