The different trends in American crime

Aug 19, 2016

Crime is up? Crime is down? It depends on who you ask and where. The Marshall Project analyzed violent crime trends over the past 40 years to show how things are moving across the country.

In the process, we were struck by the wide variation from community to community. To paraphrase an aphorism about politics, all crime is local. Each city has its own trends that depend on the characteristics of the city itself, the time frame, and the type of crime. In fact, the trends vary from neighborhood to neighborhood within cities; a recent study posited that 5 percent of city blocks account for 50 percent of the crime. That is why most Americans believe crime is worse, while significantly fewer believe it is worse where they live.

They eventually narrowed down trends to four main categories, across 68 cities.

Don’t see what you’re looking for. The data is available for download.

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