Murder Rates Dropping in 2018: A Preliminary Analysis

The NYU’s Brennan Center calculates that murder rates in America’s 29 largest cities will drop by 7.6 percent over the previous year; falling off to levels approximately equal to 2015 rates. Notably, the report projects a 35 percent decline in homicides in San Francisco, 23.2 percent in Chicago, and 20.9 percent in Baltimore.

A new report issued by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University projects an overall decline in crime in big cities in 2018, with a larger drop-off in homicides, particularly in cities where violent crime has spiked in recent years.

Authors of the report calculate that murder rates in America’s 29 largest cities will drop by 7.6 percent over the previous year; falling off to levels approximately equal to 2015 rates.

Notably, the report projects a 35 percent decline in homicides in San Francisco, 23.2 percent in Chicago, and 20.9 percent in Baltimore. If projections hold, this would mean a hard reverse in Baltimore’s murder trend, dropping to levels not seen since 2014.

“These findings directly undercut claims that American cities are experiencing a crime wave. Instead, they suggest that increases in the murder rate in 2015 and 2016 were temporary, rather than signaling a reversal in the long-term downward trend,” wrote the authors.

Despite an overall downward trend, the news isn’t good for a few other cities: in particular, researchers calculate a 34.9 percent increase in Washington, D.C.’s murder rates over last year, and a 29.9 percent increase in Austin.

To estimate year-end crime and murder rates, researchers used raw data from individual police departments, interpreting incident-level data to be consistent with each city’s Uniform Crime Report data to the FBI for previous years. Nineteen cities provided complete data on crimes that occurred this year, and 29 cities contributed murder data.

To estimate year-end crime data, researchers used raw data from 19 cities on crimes that have occurred this year, interpreting incident-level data to be consistent with each cities’ UCR reports for previous years. The remaining 11 cities could not provide raw data for 2018. For rate calculations, the authors projected city population assuming the average rate of population growth for the past three years remained constant through 2018.

Overall, authors project a 2.9 percent decrease in crime rates, “essentially holding stable,” they wrote. “If this estimate holds, this group of cities will experience the lowest crime rate this year since at least 1990.”

Year-end data for 2017 issued by the FBI Uniform Crime Report is forthcoming.

Crime and Murder 2018: A Preliminary Analysis was published by the Brennan Center of Justice at the NYU School of Law. The report, authored by Ames C. Grawert, Adureh Onyekwere, and Cameron Kimble, can be found online here. This summary was prepared by TCR’s Deputy Editor-Investigations Victoria Mckenzie

from https://thecrimereport.org

NYC Blacks, Hispanics Hit Hardest by Misdemeanor Arrests: Study

In its seventh report, John Jay College’s Misdemeanor Justice Project found that, even though arrests for pot possession and other drug-related offenses are down, individuals of color are almost five times more likely to be arrested for drug charges than whites in New York City.

In New York City, marijuana and other drug-related arrests significantly decreased in 2016, but young African-American men and Hispanics are still arrested at much higher rates than their white counterparts, according to a report by the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Examining data from the New York City Police Department from 1993 to 2016, including all misdemeanor offenses for 16 to 65 year olds, researchers found that blacks are almost five times more likely to be arrested for minor drug charges such as possession of marijuana than whites.

Although the City has taken a proactive approach to reducing jail sentences, with plans to close Rikers Island, the second largest prison complex in the country, questions remain about the impact the new approaches will have on men and women of color.

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Tables courtesy of John Jay Misdemeanor  Justice Project.

Young men of color experienced the most dramatic increases and decreases for misdemeanor crimes such as marijuana charges, theft of service charges, trespassing charges, resisting arrest charges, and weapons charges, the study found.

table

Males are also nine times more likely to be arrested than females for marijuana charges.

Currently, New York City has the lowest crime rates and jail admission rates in decades, researchers stated.

While marijuana and other drug arrests have decreased in recent years, the number of arrests for charges more likely to be ‘complaint driven’, such as person and victim related property charges, have increased among both black and white populations.

Since 1993, there has been a 53 percent increase in “complaint-driven” charges for whites and a 72 percent increase for blacks.

The study called the increase “striking” and suggested that, possibly, there is a greater willingness by community members to call the police.

Also noteworthy: Prostitution charges among men have significantly increased.

In 1993, women were 80 percent more likely to be arrested for prostitution than men, but in 2016, the numbers were about equal.

The study did not give an explanation for the dramatic increase of prostitution arrests among men.

Overall, New York is making strides to reduce criminal sentences for non-felony offenses, such as implementing the Criminal Justice Reform Act in July 2017, which creates the presumption that some behaviors such as public drinking, public urination, littering and noise and park violations will result in a civil rather than criminal summons.

Other avenues for reducing jail and prison time include speeding up case processing, facilitating easier bail payments, the creation of a new pretrial risk assessment instrument, and the diversion of people with mental illness, the study said.

The Misdemeanor Justice Project is headed by Preeti Chauhan, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Megan Hadley is a staff writer for The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

U.S. Imprisonment Rate Down 11% Since 2008 Peak

Thirty-six states have reduced imprisonment rates since 2008, including declines of 15 percent or more in 20 states from diverse regions, says the Pew Charitable Trusts.

After peaking in 2008, the U.S. imprisonment rate fell 11 percent over eight years, reaching its lowest level since 1997, write Adam Gelb and Jacob Denney of the Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project. The decline from 2015 to 16 was 2 percent, mostly because of a drop in federal prisoners. The rate at which black adults are imprisoned declined 29 percent over the past decade. The ongoing decrease in imprisonment has occurred alongside long-term reductions in crime, the Pew writers say. Since 2008, the combined national violent and property crime rate dropped 23 percent.

On prisons, 36 states have reduced imprisonment rates since 2008, including declines of 15 percent or more in 20 states from diverse regions, such as Alaska, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Connecticut. Almost every state recorded a crime decrease with no apparent correlation to imprisonment. Across the 45 states with crime drops from 2008-16, imprisonment rate changes ranged from a 35 percent decrease to a 14 percent increase. The violent crime rate increased nationally in 2015 and 2016, but many cities are reporting reductions for 2017. Both violent and total crime rates remain near record lows. National, state, and local crime rates change for what Gelb and Denny call “complex and poorly understood reasons.” Overall, rates of reported violent and property crime have declined by more than half since 1991 peaks, falling to levels not seen since the late 1960s. Starting with Texas in 2007, more than 30 states have changed sentencing and corrections practices, aiming at improving public safety and controlling costs.

from https://thecrimereport.org

New Evidence Links Medicaid Expansion to Lower Crime Rates

Economist Qiwei He of Clemson University, studying 2010-2016 FBI data, found that access to health care decreased homicide by 7.7 percent; burglary rates by 3.6 percent; motor vehicle thefts by 10 percent; robbery by 6.1 percent; and aggravated assault by 2.7 percent.

New economic research ties Medicaid expansion to lower crime rates and billions of dollars in “crime reduction benefits,” adding to the small body of empirical evidence on the effect of health care on criminal behavior.

Using state- and county-level data from FBI Uniform Crime Reports between 2010 and 2016, economist Qiwei He, of the John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University, compared states with Medicaid expansions to those without, and found that access to health care decreased homicide by 7.7 percent; burglary rates by 3.6 percent; motor vehicle thefts by 10 percent; robbery by 6.1 percent; and aggravated assault by 2.7 percent.

According to the study, which was first published in late December and updated last week, Medicaid expansion saved states nearly $10 billion in one year.

The analysis was carried out concurrently with another investigation of Medicaid expansion and crime, covered in Oct 2017 by The Crime Report. While both studies conclude that access to health care reduces crime rates, He writes that his analysis shows a somewhat weaker effect.

According to He, “the statistically significant crime reduction effects of the Medicaid expansion on Burglary, motor vehicle theft, and robbery provide evidence that the Medicaid expansion is more likely to affect money-related crimes than other crimes.”

crime rates

See also: Medicaid Expansion Tied to Reduction in Crime

The full report, The Effect of Health Insurance on Crime Evidence from the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion, is available for free download on SSRN. This summary was prepared by Deputy Editor Victoria Mckenzie. She welcomes readers’ comments.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Personal Crime Flat Per Gallup

Observation If you are looking for a national summation of data, violent crime is up per the FBI, property crime is down in all three indexes, and Gallup states that personal crime dropped slightly. For a comprehensive overview of crime in America, see National Crime Rates. Author  Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for […]

Observation If you are looking for a national summation of data, violent crime is up per the FBI, property crime is down in all three indexes, and Gallup states that personal crime dropped slightly. For a comprehensive overview of crime in America, see National Crime Rates. Author  Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Another Fact-Check of Crime Rates Finds Trump Is Wrong

Why do the president and his new attorney general keep repeating statements about crime that are plainly false? They want to make the country feel less safe so Trump can sell some of his policies, such as the border wall and Muslim ban, according to one crime expert.

With a series of charts and data, the Minneapolis Star Tribune attempts to fact-check the relentless assertions by President Trump that violent crime in America has increased. Like many others, the paper finds the opposite is true–that crime has been on a steep decline since the 1990s and is at its lowest points in decades, with some localized exceptions. That fact is important because Trump has the power to drive the national conversation and influence criminal justice policy. Those policies can come at a steep cost to the taxpayers; the War on Drugs is estimated to have cost more than $1 trillion. “If you start with bad facts, you’re going to get bad policies that might make the country less safe, that might strain relationships further between police and communities of color, that send more people to prison for little reason,” said Ames Grawert of the Brennan Center for Justice in New York.

Grawert says Trump’s crime assertions are plainly false. He said he believes the Trump administration is purposely overstating the problem of violent crime to generate support for policies like the border wall and the travel ban. “They only make sense as an overreaction to a clear-and-present danger,” he said. “So I think he needs to make the country feel less safe than it is to sell some of these policies.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ media office declined to comment or to provide an alternative data source to support Trump’s statements.

from http://thecrimereport.org

Statistical ‘Reality Check’ Confirms Uptick in Murder Rate

The Center for Public Integrity said it found an overall 20 percent increase in murder in America’s 10 biggest cities for the first six months of 2016. Nine of the 10 showed gains; New York City was the lone exception. Some wonder whether the increase springs from an increasing population of teens and young adults.

Amid contradictory statistics wielded by Donald Trump and others for political purposes, the Center for Public Integrity concludes that its "reality check on crime" contains "some disturbing news." The investigative news organization compared murder statistics for America's 10 most populous cities for the first half of 2016 with those of the same period last year. There was a 20 percent increase overall, and nine of the 10 showed gains, with big percentage spikes in Phoenix, San Antonio, San Jose and Chicago. The exception was New York, which had a modest decline.

Why the increase? Some cite a “Ferguson effect,” in which cops pull back from aggressive enforcement. Some blame a rise in gang activity, while others point to a relentless proliferation of guns in the hands of young people. A less-explored, if admittedly imperfect explanation: more young people. Criminologists have traditionally argued that ages 15-24 are the crime-prone years, and the number of people in that age cohort has fluctuated over recent history. There were 42 million of them in 1980, when violent crime was rising, but the total was down to 38 million by 1990; crime started to ebb just a few years later, aided by the end of the crack epidemic. However, the number of 15-24-year-olds jumped to 44 million by 2012, and has stayed relatively close to that number since.

from http://thecrimereport.org