The FBI has released its annual report on crime data in the U.S. for the year 2016 and the primary findings include an overall decline in crime for the 15th year in a row, a decline in property crime for the 14th consecutive year, but an increase in the violent crime rate nationally for the second straight year. In response, we must support continued decarceration efforts and reject any calls to return to the insidious policies that lead to mass incarceration and over-policing, which overwhelmingly prey on people of color and contradict a growing body of evidence that decarceration and less policing make us safer.
Despite the uptick in violent crime since 2014, we are still in the midst of a remarkable long-term decline in both violent and property crime at the national level. A deeper dive into the numbers from 2016 once again show violence, particularly homicides, heavily concentrated in a few neighborhoods in some of the biggest major cities. Preliminary analysis of the 2017 crime stats shows that violent crime will decrease once again, signaling that we are not at the beginning of an upward swing.
The current downward trend in national crime rates has coincided, since 2007, with concerted efforts by most states to reduce prison populations. Nationally, the crime and incarceration rate fell together from 2008 to 2014. From 2010 to 2015, the 10 states that cut imprisonment the most saw crime fall almost twice as much as the 10 states with the most growth in imprisonment. As the author of a major new review of incarceration studies found, “...the cost-benefit case for decarceration is a no-brainer: all benefit and no cost.” Read more about Don’t believe anyone who tells you crime rates call for more policing and jailing