Not so fast. Overall crime rates are indeed going down –somewhat; from a total of 8474 in 1999 to 7224 in 2009 –a 1250 difference, or about 15% over the ten-year period. That much we expect from a purely demographic point; baby-boomers, now seniors, do not do as much violent crime as when they were young. Yet, statistics, like booze, can be abused and misused. Violent crime, a greater concern, is only down by 126, or less than 9 percent, and if we look at ‘youths accused of violent crime’, the picture changes considerably. Number of crimes ranged from a low of 1682 in 1999 to a high of 1957 in 2001, averaging 1925.88 over ten years, with 2009 dipping by 61 or about 3 percent from the ten-year average. ‘Homicides’ follow a similar pattern, peaking in 2005 at 2.06, the lowest being 2003 at 1.74. The ‘attempted murder’ category, year 2009 at 2.39 was only higher in four of the other ten-year period.
In my humble opinion, it appears to be little or no progress made in the important violent crime categories, especially as it pertains to youth. Perhaps, if we manage to disarm our violent youths and wane them off drugs and gangs, we could stand a chance. Furthermore, if you look into the statistics on unsolved murders, you will find that we are losing ground there also. So, before flogging raw statistics in support of a “lower crime” or a “higher crime” rates hypothesis, we should make sure we interpreted them properly so we are acting like neither Chicken Little nor Pollyanna.