Our world is going to hell in a handbasket. Everywhere we turn, crime is rampant and unless politicians do “something” right away, we’re all going to die under a hail of gunfire from the legions of criminals swarming their streets.
At least that’s what the gun control advocates seem to say most of the time.
Unfortunately, it’s not remotely true. Not only has violent crime been on the decline for decades, but it now seems fewer American households say they’ve been victimized by crime.
Twenty-two percent of Americans say a conventional crime was committed against their household in the previous 12 months, the lowest proportion since 2001. Over the past decade, the percentage reporting their household was victimized by any of seven different crimes averaged 26% and never dropped below 24%.
Gallup began computing its annual index of self-reported crime victimization in 2000. The index is based on the “yes” responses from U.S. adults as to whether they or anyone in their household was the victim of any of seven common crimes — ranging from vandalism to violent crimes — in the past 12 months.
This year’s drop in crime was not reported across all groups equally. Nonwhites and those with annual household incomes under $40,000 are about as likely this year as they were in 2016 to say their household had experienced a crime.
Americans ranked crime as one of the nation’s most important problems two decades ago, but the combination of dramatically falling crime rates through most of the 1990s and the rise of other issues in the new century pushed it down the priority list of national problems.
With at least one in four American households victimized by crime every year from 2008 through last year, however, the threat of crime has continued to be a concern for many Americans.
Theories abound for why crime rates rise and fall, and it is too early to know whether this year’s drop in reported crime will be sustained. But at worst, it ends the increase of recent years and, at best, it holds the potential to signal further reductions in crime in the future.
Why the threat of crime remains a concern for Americans is hardly a mystery, however. We’re fed a constant stream of hysteria from the leftist media highlighting crime as if it’s a constant and pressing thing that will impact us all at any given moment.
If I more inclined to see conspiracies, I’d be forced to wonder if the leftist media pumps these stories out in an attempt to soften the public to accept or even push for more stringent controls over various aspects of our lives, like gun ownership, at the behest of left-leaning politicians.
But I’m not that inclined. Instead, the media just crank these stories out because they know the public will remain riveted to their televisions, terrified their home will be next, all while failing to heed the constant stream of common sense advice offered to make them less of a victim.
Still, it’s unlikely you’ll see these numbers floating around on CNN or MSNBC anytime soon. They just can’t have people thinking the world isn’t as awful as they’d like to believe.