Five Facts on Crime Rates in America

Five Facts on Crime Rates in America

The Big Insight: Violent crime fell by one percent between 2020 and 2021, but that was after an increase of 5.2% between 2019 and 2020.

The FBI has released its statistics on violent crime in America in 2021, reporting a one percent drop in overall violent crime since 2020 but a 4.3% rise in murders. The bureau’s data from over the past decade show trends in large cities and smaller towns for a variety of offenses.

1. Violent crime was up by 12% over the past decade nationwide, with murder and manslaughter up 26% and sexual assault up 38%.

Detroit, Memphis, and Milwaukee had the highest murder and aggravated assault totals among large cities reporting to the FBI’s new National Incident-Based Reporting System (which does not yet include several major cities like New York and Los Angeles).

2. Robbery rates fell by 23% across the U.S. over the past decade.

While violent crime rates rose, burglary was down by 51% and larceny down 33%. There was, however, a 48% spike in motor vehicle theft.

3. The violent crime rate in medium-sized cities was mostly stable.

In cities with 250,000-500,000 residents, violent crime rates were up just two percent over the past decade.

4. Violent crime in towns with up to 100,000 residents was up 13% over the past decade.

By comparison, violent crime increased in small cities (population 100,000-250,000) by just three percent during this same period. Property crimes fell considerably in both the towns (down 33%) and the small cities (down 29%).

5. U.S. states and municipalities spend about $140 billion per year on policing.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, this is up about seven percent over the past decade, and up 40% from 20 years ago. President Biden has proposed $32.2 billion in new federal spending to put “more police officers on the beat” through grants and community violence intervention programs.