If you’ve been waiting for good news on the crime front, listen to this. The number of homicides in Phoenix during 2015 was the lowest in almost 30 years. A total of 113 murders took place in the city last year. And we haven’t seen a number that low since 1988. At various points during the past couple of decades, it was not uncommon for the number to reach 300 murders in a given year.
Ok. Sure, that’s good news. But it seems as if everywhere you look, there are dire predictions of massive increases in violent crime. So what’s really going on? Well, the news, being a business, plays up crime. Simply put, crime – in particular violent crime – sells a lot better than no crime.
But the truth is that the number we’ve just reported for 2015 is really nothing new. And to demonstrate that fact, we’ll tell you about the crime stats reported precisely one year ago. According to those reports, the homicide rate in large cities dropped significantly, particularly over the previous 15 years. Here are some examples:
- New York. There were 2,245 people murdered in NYC in 1990. In 2014, police investigated just 328 homicides. That’s an 85% reduction. And it was predicted that the reduction would continue.
- Chicago. Although there was an all-time high in homicides in Chicago in 2012, two years later the number was at its lowest since 1972.
- Charlotte, NC. The city recorded its lowest number of killings since they started keeping records in 1977.
- Philadelphia. Murder rate down by almost 25% between 2012 and 2014.
- Detroit. Homicide rate was the second lowest number since 1967.
- Camden, NJ. Fifty percent decline in homicides since 2012.
Violent crime in general, and murder in particular, have been on the decline for around a decade, according to the FBI. There are a number of potential reasons, including longer sentences for violent crimes, a reduction in the cost of heroin (reducing drug-related crime), and an aging population (seniors commit far fewer crimes than younger folks).
However you look at it, the news is good. Homicide and violent crime appear to be continuing their decline in major cities across the country.
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004