Is crime increasing or decreasing? According to reports from the US Department of Justice, it’s both.
Understanding national crime data is getting harder than ever.
When I became the senior specialist for crime prevention for the US Department of Justice’s clearinghouse, I spent the first months answering questions about crime rates and totals via the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Why am I doing this, I asked my superiors? Wouldn’t these questions be better answered by the agencies putting out the statistics? It seems that my inquiry was a moot point; the questions kept coming and the FBI and the BJS didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they supported me by giving me access to their statisticians and special data runs.
Explaining-understanding national crime data takes time and a willingness to acknowledge the complexities. Questions about national crime statistics (including police command staff) continue today.
Take my use of firearm-homicide data from the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) for the photo in this article. Their report on firearm violence got an immense amount of publicity “but” their data offered nothing that didn’t already exist via the FBI.
There was an insightful analysis of firearm crime data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics stating that the vast majority of violence doesn’t involve firearms which was ignored by the media.
Why did the media embrace the CDC’s homicide data but ignore far more comprehensive research on all firearm violence offered by BJS?
I guess that a focus on homicides (which involve a preponderance of firearms) rather than all violent crimes from BJS (with limited involvement of guns) fits preconceived notions.
The questions about crime data and its relevancy continue which is why I wrote Violent And Property Crime rates in The United States to provide a comprehensive overview of crime rates and totals along with other measures (i.e., fear of crime and data from Gallup). It’s designed to offer the most important crime statistics in one place.
Understanding crime and violence in the US is hard. It’s confusing. Advocates push narratives with limited data to willing reporters (i.e., violence interrupters) who don’t understand nuances resulting in misleading articles. Some examples of the complexity of understanding crime are below.
All quotes below are edited for brevity.
School Crime-ABC News
Across America, one of the nation’s most difficult academic years was also one of the most violent. Experts who track school behavior nationwide said fights and other aggressive behavior, including shootings, appear to have increased.
Educators and psychologists say the pandemic contributed to the volatility in schools by causing a surge in student mental health problems, trauma at home, a lack of socializing opportunities, and a shortage of teachers and counselors that reduced adult supervision and guidance.
There is no national data that tracks school fights and assaults, but education officials across the country say violence erupted more often and more fiercely.
Source ABC News
School Crime-US Department of Justice Data
In 2020, students ages 12 to 18 experienced 285,400 victimizations at school and 380,900 victimizations away from school.
From 2019 to 2020, the total victimization rate at school decreased from 30 victimizations per 1,000 students to 11 victimizations per 1,000 students—a decrease of more than 60 percent (emphasis added).
Source Bureau Of Justice Statistics
So which is it, an explosion of school violence or a reduction of 60 percent? The article refers to more recent years and the BJS data is from 2020, but it simply can’t be both an explosion and a huge decrease. Crime counts traditionally rise and fall at far smaller numbers.
Crime in The US-Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey-2020 (latest data)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of the US Department of Justice states that the violent victimization rate dropped 22 percent in 2020, Criminal Victimization 2020.
This is the largest decrease in violence ever reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (emphasis added).
The announcement was startling. Everyone expected BJS to document increasing violence based on FBI and many additional reports that violent crime increased considerably.
Crime in The US-FBI-2020 (latest data)
Per 2020 FBI final statistics released in September 2021, the number of homicides increased nearly 30% from 2019, the largest single-year increase the agency has recorded since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s. There were more than 21,500 murders last year, a total not seen since the mid-1990s.
In 2020, violent crime was up 5.6 percent from the 2019 number. The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses rose 12.1 percent, and the volume of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses increased 29.4 percent.
The estimated number of robbery offenses fell 9.3 percent and the estimated volume of rape (revised definition) offenses decreased 12.0 percent. Property crimes continued to decrease. The exception is motor vehicle thefts which rose 11.8 percent, Homicides and Violent Crime Increases.
2020 is the latest data we have from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. So which is it, the largest single-year increase in homicides or the largest decrease in violence ever reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics? Yes, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and their national survey doesn’t measure homicides (you can’t interview dead people) but murders have historically been used as a proxy for overall violence.
Missing Data From Law Enforcement Agencies
Nearly 40% of law enforcement agencies around the country did not submit any data in 2021 to a newly revised FBI crime statistics collection program.
The gap includes the nation’s two largest cities by population, New York City and Los Angeles, as well as most agencies in five of the six most populous states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
In 2021, the FBI retired its nearly century-old national crime data collection program, the Summary Reporting System used by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The agency switched to a new system, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which gathers more specific information on each incident. Even though the FBI announced the transition years ago and the federal government spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help local police make the switch, about 7,000 of the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies did not successfully send crime data to the voluntary program last year.
Source The Marshall Project
The FBI did not report data for the first quarter of 2021 because not enough police agencies participated. But about 60 percent did. The promise was that the Bureau of Justice Statistics would extrapolate from existing data and fill in the gaps. What happened?
Is Overall Crime Increasing Or Is It Just Violence?
A historic rise in homicides in 2020—and continued bloodshed in 2021—has incited fears that after years of plummeting crime rates, the U.S. could be headed back to the bad old days, when a crime wave gripped the country from the 1970s to the 1990s.
But the FBI’s “Uniform Crime Report” for 2020, suggests something stranger: Perhaps America is in the midst of what is specifically a violence wave, not a broad crime wave. Even as violent crime rose, led by significant jumps in murders and aggravated assaults, property crime continued a years-long decline.
Source The Atlantic
When I left law enforcement and went to college, my criminology professors taught me that, generally speaking, “all” crime rises and decreases uniformly over time. Not only did this occur in the US, but it happened in most industrialized countries; crime increased or decreased for all or most, just not at the exact time or volume.
“The Atlantic” is correct. In recent years, reported property crimes have mostly decreased with some exceptions for auto theft although there seem to be the beginnings of increased property crimes in several cities.
There are additional observations and examples I could add such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics and 2019 data that went from being flat to decreasing. Data has a way of changing when researchers re-run numbers. I’m not suggesting anything nefarious. But the bottom line is that a BJS chart showed decreases in violent crime in 2019 which is different from what the Bureau of Justice Statistics previously offered through official reports.
First, I’m suggesting that readers be cautious with crime data. According to the ABC news article cited above, school crime is exploding in proximity with a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics stating that school crime dropped 60 percent. The article erroneously stated that there are no national statistics on school crime. What you read and what really is can be two different things.
Second, understand that only 40 percent of violent crimes are reported to law enforcement. It’s much less for property crime, which is why we have the Bureau of Justice Statistics-National Crime Victimization Survey.
Third, there are vast differences between the crimes reported to law enforcement via the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics which is a statistical measure of “all” crime. Counting and examining the missing 60 percent of violent crimes can (and do) create differences between the two national reports.
Fourth, as a personal observation, I tend to have more faith in the FBI’s data on reported crimes as a measure of what’s happening throughout the country. The Bureau of Justice Statistics-National Crime Victimization Survey measures “crimes” that will never be reported to law enforcement because they are often “personal” events; a friend hits you with a beer bottle after you insult his wife after a night of drinking, which is technically an aggravated assault.
It won’t be reported to law enforcement but when the Bureau of Justice Statistics calls with their victimization survey, you will probably tell them that “someone you know” hit you with a weapon. Remember that most violent crime involves people who know each other.
I tend to believe (like others before me) that crimes reported to law enforcement are more serious in nature, often falling into the stranger-to-stranger or personal violence with injury categories.
Finally, measuring crime has endless barriers like COVID and the ability of the Bureau of Justice Statistics to conduct surveys. Arrests plummeted in 2020 and that may be an indication that fewer crimes were being reported or that law enforcement was reluctant to make arrests because of the spreading disease.
The vast majority as to what we consume about crime comes from mainstream media. Just because a news source tells you that violence is up or down doesn’t mean that it’s correct.
The legion of national, state, and local crime reporters who fully understood the numbers have almost disappeared.
Good data and accurate observations are getting harder to find because fewer reporters are knowledgeable. Like the example above on gun violence, reporters can cherry-pick data or not understand that additional research provides a more nuanced interpretation.
So how do we understand the impact of crime? I tend to pay attention to fear of crime data (which often conflicts with official crime numbers) and crime statistics via local and state law enforcement (yes, many criminologists will disagree with my observations).
Rising fear of crime and recent local-state crime data (via multiple locations) may be better indicators of what’s happening than older national statistics. Just understand that increases in crime for large or medium-sized cities doesn’t mean that they apply to all jurisdictions.
The latest national data (2020) is getting old but I get daily media and official reports that violence continues to rise in urban areas. This tells me that violence in the US continues to grow. This is said with the understanding that because violence is increasing in cities doesn’t mean that it’s growing for the country (but it probably is).
See more articles on crime and justice at Crime in America.
Most Dangerous Cities/States/Countries at Most Dangerous Cities.
US Crime Rates at Nationwide Crime Rates.
National Offender Recidivism Rates at Offender Recidivism.
An Overview Of Data On Mental Health at Mental Health And Crime.
The Crime in America.Net RSS feed (https://crimeinamerica.net/?
Reyes: We’re facing the collapse of law enforcement in America. It will lead to the end of our country as we know it.
Editor’s note: In what has become something of an annual tradition (sadly), Law Enforcement Today writes about the challenges facing not only law enforcement, but our country in general.
These articles have proven to be among the most popular we post. When we started this series, we thought things were pretty bad. However, since January 20, 2021 – things have gotten much, much worse.
In 2020 during the run up to the November election, we tried to warn people what our country was up against, and what the Democrats had in mind. Sadly, but not surprisingly, we have found ourselves to be right.
Law Enforcement Today is written primarily for law enforcement officers and those who support law enforcement. However, our audience has expanded to include those who support our military, our Constitution and all the liberty and freedom it guarantees and are God-fearing patriotic Americans.
A lot of our readers ask how you can get involved. With that in mind, we invite you to prayerfully consider our membership program—LET Unity. The proceeds raised from that program are used to reinvest into capturing more stories about the heroes who protect us at home on our law enforcement agencies, and those who protect us abroad in the United States military.
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For the rest of you… simply keep following, keep reading, and keep sharing. Especially sharing…the more people who read these stories, the better it is for our law enforcement and military brethren.
I, [name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So, help me God.
On July 4, 1776, a group of patriots decided they had suffered enough at the hands of the British monarchy. On that date, at tremendous risk of their own personal safety and more so their very lives, they put quill to paper and signed the greatest document ever forged. A document that gave birth to the greatest country ever to grace the face of the earth—the United States of America.
Yet here we are, 245 years nearly to the day that document was signed, and we find our country at a crossroads. When you look at all the great dynasties in the history of the world, all of them eventually collapsed. The Roman Empire…the British Empire…they number many.
It’s something that you don’t really consider when you’re young. You can do anything. You’re invincible.
But as we grow older, we start considering that mortality.
With all of that in mind, it’s time we start considering the mortality of America.
I spend a substantial amount of time working in two different arenas – the world of law enforcement and the business world.
By day, I run a marketing agency. Among the areas we work in, we do extensive work in the firearms industry. My travels take me across the country – often to some of the most rural parts of America.
By night, I am the National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today. I’m not a police officer. I was tapped because I can do one thing cops can’t do. I can give them a voice. I can run my mouth and no agency can fire me.
That travel that I referenced – both in the business world and supporting the LE world – has afforded me countless opportunities to work side by side with some of the greatest patriots in America.
My closest friends are either in law enforcement or either active or retired members of some of the most elite military forces in America. And from our greatest warriors to our everyday citizens… I can tell you the underlying fear that so many are thinking about – and that’s the seemingly inevitable collapse of society if we don’t make some monumental changes.
As a Christian, I believe we are in the middle of some serious spiritual warfare. But you don’t have to be a Christian to understand that the very soul of America is under attack right now. And the rapid erosion of the Thin Blue Line has us sitting on a powder keg.
Historically, if you look at the collapse of some of the greatest empires in the world, it happened from within. Simply put, it raises the distinct danger that America won’t be conquered by foreign enemies … but rather from domestic ones.
President Ronald Reagan probably put it best when he said, “ Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.” Prophetic words indeed.
When historians say that an empire fell, it means that the central state no longer exercised its broad power. That happens either because the state itself ceased to exist or because the state’s power was reduced as parts of the empire became independent of its control.
It typically doesn’t happen because of a single cause, but rather a long process. The main factors that historically lead to imperial collapse are:
- Economic issues
- Social and cultural issues
- Environmental issues
- Political issues
Now none of these factors are causes in and of themselves, but rather are ways to categorize causes.
What that means is you wouldn’t decide that Rome fell because of politics, but rather you’d explore political factors to understand the collapse. And in those issues are warning signs for us as Americans.
That brings me to the threat we face today.
Have you ever heard of something called the Cloward-Piven strategy? It’s not exactly something the mainstream media talks about… but it’s something you need to be aware of, because it’s what we’re facing in America today.
American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven created the political strategy in 1966. The idea behind it is to overload the U.S. public welfare system to create a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a socialist system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.
If that doesn’t describe what we’re seeing from Democrats who are running Congress and the White House right now, I don’t know what does. But it’s a much bigger threat than you might realize. That’s because it’s so incredibly pervasive. It’s poisoning the very roots of America.
And it calls to mind the words of Jefferson:
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
We are seeing groups here in America demanding open borders. Demanding the decriminalization of crossing into our country illegally. Since Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, we have seen our southern border over-run, not only from Mexican citizens but by people from all around the world, including some on terrorist watch lists.
Joe Biden assigned his vice president, Kamala Harris to oversee the border crisis, but in nearly three months since being given that assignment, Harris has not visited the border first-hand to see exactly what is going on—not once.
At the same time, across our great country, we are seeing the CRIMINALIZATION of law enforcement. All across the country, from Minneapolis to Portland, Los Angeles through Chicago to New York, there is a literal war on police. Major cities such as Seattle, Portland, Chicago and New York are seeing officers either retire early or outright leave. Morale in police departments across the country is in the toilet.
We’re seeing agencies desperate for officers, because as more and more retire (or count down the minutes to retirement), we see a deficit in the number of incoming recruits. After all, why would you want to live a life of service when you’re just going to be attacked for that service?
In the aftermath of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis a year ago, we have seen primarily Democrats across the country demanding defunding of police, taking away protections such as qualified immunity from officers, and emasculating police to the point where even when they are completely justified in using deadly physical force, neo-Marxist groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa take to the streets to cause death and destruction.
One of the demands from activists was that police officers be required to be issued body cameras, which many jurisdictions have done. Yet, when police are put in the position of having to use deadly physical force, what is shown on the body cameras is not believed, called edited footage. It’s a classic heads I win, tails you lose for law enforcement officers.
We see political activists masquerading as police chiefs. We see them working hand in hand with liberal politicians to not only attack the rights of law-abiding citizens, but also to destroy the morale of their own departments. We watch as they flat out disrespect the oath of office they took and put officers in no-win situations. Last year in the wake of the George Floyd death, we saw police chiefs kneeling on the ground with the very people who want them dead.
If I were to design a road map for how to collapse America, starting with law enforcement, here’s what it would look like.
Step one: Divide the protectors.
The refusal to allow rank and file patrol officers to cooperate with federal law enforcement to uphold the law. It’s a slap in the face to Americans and it’s a dereliction of duty. It’s also a clear and intentional move to create a divide between local, state and federal law enforcement. Divide the protectors… conquer a society.
Step two: Divide the supporters.
Force officers to choose between enforcing unconstitutional legislation like Red Flag laws, which deny citizens of their right to due process… and providing for their own family.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year, we’ve seen draconian emergency orders put in place by power-hungry governors, with police officers being put in the position of having to be COVID cops or face discipline. We’ve seen videos of police officers arresting people at high school football games for not wearing a mask, breaking up groups of Hasidic Jews at a funeral in New York City and shutting down a gym in New Jersey for breaking COVID rules.
Make cops the bad guys. Take the people who have historically supported law enforcement and convince them that cops are now the enemy. Divide the supporters… conquer a society.
Step three: Remove their protection
Make cops afraid to be cops. Encourage disrespect on them like water bucket attacks. Don’t go after the criminals who attack them. When officers arrest criminals, let them back out on the street within hours because a liberal judge determined that the violent suspect with a lengthy criminal history isn’t actually a threat.
In city after city across the country, we have seen George Soros-funded district attorneys such as George Gascon in Los Angeles, Kim Foxx in Chicago, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia and scores of others go light on criminals while going hard after police officers.
Then threaten law enforcement officers that if they do their job, they’ll be investigated. That if they have to fight for their lives, they’ll end up being charged. Remove both their desire and their ability to police.
Step four: Flood America
By some estimates, one million people will make illegal entry into America this year.
There are fewer than 850,000 law enforcement officers in America. Do the math.
Now let criminals create havoc in society but instead of deporting them or actually cracking down on crime, let Americans know that the real problem is guns owned by law abiding citizens and pass legislation to take away their rights.
Step five: Destroy our homes
Own the media. Own Hollywood. Force feed Anti-American, socialist and communist policies into our homes and our education system. Convince our children that right is wrong and wrong is right. Take God out of society, destroy the family structure and teach everyone that the solution to your problems is in the form of pills, porn and the government.
Step six: Destroy our schools
Keep children out of school for over a year for in-person learning. Feed kids anti-American propaganda such as the 1619 Project which teaches America was founded on racist principles by a bunch of white racist men. Erase history and replace it with critical race theory, which teaches white children to hate themselves and believe they have special privilege because of their race. Go completely against Dr. Martin Luther King’s edict that skin color is more important than the content of one’s character.
Step seven: Destroy our military and intelligence agencies
Turn our military and intelligence agencies into indoctrination mills where sexual preference or sexual identity is considered to be of primary importance while the more important mission of looking at what those who seek to destroy us are doing and making sure that the primary focus of the military is on killing people and breaking things, now the sexual identity of a soldier’s parents.
Step eight: Bypass Congress for gun control
Have “private businesses” like Dicks and Walmart determine what you can and can’t buy. Let the White House determine by executive order what is and what is not an “assault rifle.”
Step nine: Lose control of the truth to tech tyrants and mainstream media
Allow Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Snapchat determine what you can see and what you can say… because it’s not a violation of the Constitution if it’s done by private enterprise. Allow social media to have unfettered ability to censor content that they do not politically agree with or people who have an opinion that goes against the politically desirable narrative.
Step ten: Use “social justice” to vilify love of country
Take every patriotic American who wants to see a better country for their children and call them a racist, etc. if you don’t agree with them. Then mass report them on social media to make sure their accounts are cancelled, and their voices are shut down.
Then say you think they’re a threat and have a judge determine that combat veterans and our nation’s greatest warriors need to be disarmed because of post-traumatic stress. Then force officers to go to war with their own brothers and sisters.
Take people who had legitimate concerns about last November’s election and who raised serious questions about events which made no sense and put them in the category of conspiracy theorists or worse yet, insurrectionists hell-bent on the destruction of the American way of life, which is absurd.
It’s happening right in front of our eyes. And it’s starting with a full onslaught against our law enforcement officers in every way, shape and form.
Want to save America? We need to start by understanding the enemy. And sometimes the biggest threat that an empire faces is the enemy within.
We hope you’ll consider getting in the fight with us. Here’s what Law Enforcement Today – the largest police-owned media outlet in America – is doing.
We at Law Enforcement Today want to make our stance very clear.
We strongly and firmly stand behind the Second Amendment, companies that keep civilians and law enforcement officers safe through products and innovation, and the men and women who serve and protect our communities and our country.
We are launching a new series of options to help our partners and other patriotic businesses to be able to connect with consumers. While we can’t replace Google, Bing or Facebook – we sure can provide options to ensure that these companies and our brothers and sisters have a voice.
We welcome with open arms companies that openly support law enforcement, and we are proud to offer them options to get their products to market.
We started noticing the problems a couple of years ago. Social media was scaling back the reach of content that it didn’t believe people should see. Those problems continue today, with both myself as well as the founder of Law Enforcement Today, Robert Greenberg being kicked off of LinkedIn.
Not that there was anything offensive about it. We’re talking about pro-police videos, stories about patriotic Americans and more.
And from our perspective, that created a huge problem. We have some of the greatest warriors in the world. Yet their voices and their stories were being buried.
The mainstream media, on the rare occasion that it would tell some of these stories, would give you only a piece of them. They’d cram as much as they could into a 90 second segment, slap their bias on it and that was it.
We needed to fix it. And so we are.
Law Enforcement Today (LET) is proud to announce the launch of LET Unity – a new home focused on bridging the gap between civilians and civil servants. We’ve merged with The Whiskey Patriots to massively expand content, rolling out hundreds of videos to members.
Many of those in our focus groups dubbed it the “Netflix of the law enforcement community”. But the truth is, it’s so much more.
The first officer in the door at the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Emergency responders from the Parkland shooting.
The bomb squad that responded to the Aurora movie theater massacre.
Survivors of the Dallas five killings.
The first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis.
The CIA agent who started a counter human trafficking company.
World War II veterans.
And so, so much more.
The membership is less than the cost of two coffees a month, and those who sign up for an annual membership will get some surprise bonuses in the mail. We decided to charge a nominal fee so we could take all of the proceeds and reinvest them into capturing more of these stories. The majority of our content producers for Law Enforcement Today are active, retired or wounded law enforcement officers. The revenue we make helps provide for their families and helps bring a TRUE voice about what’s happening in America.
On top of that, we’re opening up the platform to some well-known podcasters who are going to be joining the team with some incredible content soon.
We have a problem in society. Censorship has created an existential threat to democracy. But even worse is the risk we run that some of these incredible stories of patriotism, hope, faith and our Sheepdogs would be lost.
We’ve launched a series of content with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) to share the stories of survivors. We will also be dropping a weekly law enforcement focused newscast that addresses some of the most important topics in the country… and helps bridge the gap between those who serve and those whom they serve.
On top of that, we’ll soon be rolling out a series of private discounts and special promotions to members only as a “thank you” for being a part of the family.
You can also download the app to watch the content right from your iPhone.
We hope you’ll join us in this journey, knowing that your membership is going to give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.
Our country is currently at a crossroads, and with that, so are our brothers and sisters in law enforcement. Today more than ever, that thin blue line that protects the sheep from the wolves is more tenuous that at almost any time in our country’s history. We need to protect and endorse the sheepdogs—our police—who hold the wolves at bay. There has never been a more important time in our nation’s still young history when we need patriots to stand up and support our men and women on the front lines of this fight.
If you are one of the many companies out there that’s being censored – or you’re worried about what’s to come – don’t hesitate to reach out today. We are all in this fight together. I can be reached at [email protected]
We will not be silenced. You shouldn’t be either.
God bless you all, and God Bless America.
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