Best of 2011: Crime, Its Rise and Fall in 2011…Plus More Crime Related Stories

Cities Where Violent Crime Is Plummeting

For years, experts have maintained that crime rates increase with rising unemployment and poverty rates. Yet data released earlier this year from the FBI show a marked decrease in the national violent crime rate between 2005 and 2010 even as unemployment and poverty have continued to skyrocket. Experts are stumped. Using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports database, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the 10 metropolitan areas where violent crime rates decreased the most.

Nationwide, the crime rate has declined 13.9% from 469 incidents per 100,000 individuals in 2005 to 403.6 in 2010. In fact, 2010 was the fourth year in a row crime has declined in the U.S. Looking at the 328 metropolitan statistical ares (MSAs), it’s clear that in some cities crime rates have dropped even more than the national average. In the ten regions 24/7 Wall St. has identified, the rate has dropped by 25%-50%.

The ten cities, however, do not share any clear trends or characteristics to explain the cause behind their decreased crime rates. Some of them have high poverty rates, low median incomes and high unemployment rates. Others are quite wealthy, with high median incomes and low poverty rates that are about half the national average. In many of them, however, crime still remains a severe problem, despite the decline.

If poverty and unemployment cannot explain the dramatic drops in crime rates, what can? 24/7 found that what accounted for those declining incidences of assault, murder and robbery were local projects, improvements in law enforcement, and urban development — usually, a combination of these. While many of these cities still have a long way to go, they have had success at fighting crime on a local level.

These are the cities where violent crime is plummeting.

10. Salisbury, MD
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -237
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 906.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 669.7
> Murders per 100,000: 9

In 2005, the Salisbury, Maryland area had the 12th highest violent crime rate in the country. At a rate of 906.4 for every 100,000 residents it was nearly double the national rate of 469.3. By 2010, however, the region’s rate had dropped 38% to 669 violent crimes per 100,00 people. This was still much higher than the national average, and the murder rate actually went up over that time, but a substantial decline in the number of robberies and assaults represented a positive sign for the crime-ridden region. According to the Baltimore Sun, state Governor Martin O’Malley announced that year a $156,000 grant to Salisbury to start the second Safe Streets program in the state. The program had shown apparent benefits in Annapolis.

9. Savannah, GA
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -240.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 582.9
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 342.5
> Murders per 100,000: 6.5

The metro region of Savannah, Georgia had a violent crime rate of 582.9 per 100,000 residents in 2005, which was well above the national rate, and the second-highest rate in the state. In 2010, that number had dropped 41% to 342.5, putting it below the national average of 403.6. In that time, the rate of robberies dropped 37%, and the rate of aggravated assault dropped 42%. In a 2009 speech elaborating on his stimulus package, president Obama named Savannah as a target area for Justice Assistance Grant, or “JAG” funds. The president said:  “Savannah, Georgia Police Department would use the Byrne JAG funds for crime and intelligence analysts. The stimulus funding would also be targeted for juvenile prevention and intervention efforts in Savannah. The department intends to bridge the school resource and community gaps by adding police officers specifically to work with the schools and communities.”

8. Gainesville, FL
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -244
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 867.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 623.4
> Murders per 100,000: 5.9

In 2005, the Gainesville, Florida metro region’s violent crime rate of 867.4 incidents for every 100,000 residents was the 15th highest in the country. In 2007, after the city reported another disappointing increase in violent crime, a task force was started to deal specifically with that problem, according to the Gainesville Sun. It appears to have helped. By 2010, the violent crime rate had dropped 28% to 623.4, although it is still well above the U.S. average rate. In the city of Gainesville, things did not actually improve much and there were actually 31 more robberies in 2010 than in 2005. However, outside the city limits robberies declined and there were 372 fewer cases of aggravated assault.

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE

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Cities Where Violent Crime Is Soaring

For years, experts have maintained that increases in unemployment and poverty result in rising crime rates. Data released earlier this year from the FBI show a marked decrease in the national violent crime rate, dropping from 431.9 crimes per 100,000 individuals to 403.6. This is the fourth year in a row crime has gone down, even as unemployment and poverty have continued to skyrocket. Experts are stumped
.

There are some cities, however, where crime rates have increased. Using statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports database, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) that bucked the national trend and experienced the largest increases in violent crime from 2005 to 2010.

Looking at all of these cities, there are no clear trends for any of the things that experts say cause crime to increase. Some of the areas where crime has risen have high poverty rates, low median income and high unemployment rates. Others are quite wealthy, with high median income and poverty rates half the national average. One of the cities where violent crime is soaring, Bismarck, N.D., had the lowest unemployment rate in the country last year, but violent crime still managed to more than double between 2005 and 2010.

National violent crime rates that improve as the economy worsens suggest that unemployment and poverty are not the main drivers of crime. That the cities with the largest increases in violent crime are so different suggests the same. What accounted for rising incidences of assault, murder and robbery were things like the spread of regional gangs, changes in law enforcement tactics, and funding issues — and usually not just one of these. For these cities, the national trend is irrelevant. The problem must be tackled at the local level.

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE

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United States Peace Index 2011: Violent Crime Ranking

United States Peace Index 2011: Violent Crime Ranking

For the interactive map just CLICK HERE.

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Crimes and punishments through time

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Evaluating the Drug War on Its 40th Birthday, by the Numbers

by Akiba SolomonStokely Baksh

On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one in the United States.” To eradicate this enemy, he called for “a new, all-out offensive.” But 40 years of get-tough policies haven’t ended substance abuse. Instead, as “The New Jim Crow”
author Michelle Alexander recently told a crowd of 1,000 at Harlem’s Riverside Church, “The enemy in this war has been racially defined. The drug war, not by accident, has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color.”

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE

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FBI Releases Their Crime Stats…Plus 10 Most Dangerous Cities in U.S.A.

As is the norm, the FBI released the preliminary analysis of their Uniform Crime Report data. Check it out for yourself:

For the rest of this story CLICK HERE
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RACE, CRIMINAL BACKGROUND, AND EMPLOYMENT

Research shows that having a criminal record negatively affects the likelihood of being considered for a job. Devah Pager conducted a matched-pair experiment in which she had male testers apply for the same entry-level jobs advertised in Milwaukee newspapers. She gave the assistants fake credentials that make them equivalent in terms of education, job experience, and so on; she had two sets of testers, one Black and one White. One tester from each pair was instructed to indicate that they had a past non-criminal drug possession offense. Pager then collected data on how many of the applicants were called back for an interview after submitting their applications (with the fake credentials). The results indicate that having even a non-violent drug offense had a significant impact on rates of callbacks:

Pager

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE

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