Crime fears vs. facts

The headlines are dire of late, but a sobering piece in The Atlantic caught our eye that compared Americans’ perceptions of crime to the actual statistics.

“Americans don’t feel safe. More than half worry ‘a great deal’ about crime and violence, the highest rate seen in 15 years. Nearly the same proportion believe shootings will become more common over the next decade. And doesn’t it feel like things are getting worse? … (But) the murder rate has steadily dropped for the past 20 years. Overall crime has fallen too. Although last year does appear a bit worse — a preliminary FBI report suggests murders were up by 6.2 percent in the first half of 2015 — the overarching trend points decidedly downward. …

“It has been a rough few weeks. But memory is terrible. Human beings recall bad things with frightning clarity. It’s easy to forget the big picture, which is this: America is safer than it has been in a generation.”

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