In the US, crime has been documented from as early as the colonial era. Since this time crime rates in the nation have varied, with levels peaking both in the 1970s and at the beginning of the 1990s. However, crime rates in the US have since seen a significant decline. At present, crime rates can be compared to those of the 1960s as they are approximately the same.
Which Decade Had the Most Crime?
How Crime in the US is Recorded
The Uniform Crime Reports is an annual report conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) while the National Crime Victimization Surveys is an annual survey carried out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The two agencies are responsible for indexing statistics on specific crimes. Other than the Uniform Crime Report known as Crime in the US, the FBI is also responsible for publishing annual reports that focus on the nation's status of law enforcement. Specific crimes in the reports are considered standard crimes by many American agencies who deal with law enforcement. The specific crimes include non-negligent manslaughter, murder, aggravated assault, arson, rape, burglary, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and larceny.
The Evolution of Crime in the US
Since colonial times, violent crime in the US has been declining - however, crime rates abruptly shot up during the early 20th century. At this point, the US had higher numbers of crime reports compared to Western Europe. London, for example, whose population was three times that of the city of Chicago in Illinois, recorded 45 homicides whereas Chicago recorded 198 homicides with only 2 million inhabitants. Following the Second World War, the rate of violent crimes almost quadrupled and reached its peak between 1960 and 1991. Over the same period, property crime also doubled. However, since the early 1990s crime in the US has been gradually declining.
Decade with the Most Crime
With a total of 136.4 million reported crimes, the 1990s registered the most number of crimes. Many reasons are attributed to this, including higher rates of unemployment as well as drugs and substance abuse among others. The 2000s was the decade with the highest number of crimes with 115.2 million reported crimes. With 100.6 million crimes reported, the 1970s was the third decade with the highest number of crimes.
Reasons for Decline in Crime Rates
There is no valid reason why crime rates in the US have declined, but there are some theories that have been considered as the probable cause. Crime rates in the US are believed to have declined due to the increase in law enforcement during the 1990s. Some theories exist about a possible link between the use of leaded gasoline in automobiles and violent crime. Also, the rapid growth of the cocaine market which was linked to crime started to decline which resulted in decreased crime rates around this time. The advancement of technology, especially in the sector of security, is believed to have helped in the decrease of crime rates as well.
Crime Rates in the US at Present
Even though the 2011 decade is not over yet, so far the number of reported crimes is estimated to be around 59.2 million. Each state in the US has its own set of statutes which are only enforceable within the borders of that particular state. More often, crime in the US is highly concentrated in a few regions that are economically disadvantaged.