538: Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes About Crime Rising

From FiveThirtyEight:

Many Americans Are Convinced Crime Is Rising In The U.S. They’re Wrong.

But their fear makes everyone less safe.
By Maggie Koerth and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

AUG. 3, 2020, AT 6:00 AM

… We are certain crime is rising when it isn’t; convinced our risk of victimization is higher than it actually is. And in a summer when the president is sending federal agents to crack down on crime in major cities and local politicians are arguing over the risks of defunding the police, that disconnect matters. In an age of anxiety, crime may be one of our most misleading fears.

Take the crime rate. In 2019, according to a survey conducted by Gallup, about 64 percent of Americans believed that there was more crime in the U.S. than there was a year ago. It’s a belief we’ve consistently held for decades now, but as you can see in the chart below, we’ve been, just as consistently, very wrong.

True, but the funny thing, of course, is that the media are most likely to trot out these old studies of people seeing crime rising when it’s not precisely when crime is rising because media-backed Black Lives Matter campaigns in 2014-2016 and in 2020 are getting Black Lives Spattered.

In reality, there is a huge amount of evidence that crime, especially shooting and looting, are up since Day Zero of the George Floyd Era, May 24, 2020.

Crime rates do fluctuate from year to year. In 2020, for example, murder has been up but other crimes are in decline so that the crime rate, overall, is down.

Keep your eye on the number of dead bodies.

Moreover, the amount of burglaries in various lootings has been enormous, judging by helicopter and security camera footage I’ve watched of neighborhoods I’m familiar with. To say that crime is down because nobody filed a police report on each individual looter is ridiculous.

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