While Violent Crime Soars, Victimization Numbers Still Low

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Crime is a perpetual problem in any nation. It’s never low enough for everyone to be satisfied. It also seems to be a worse problem for those who have been victimized by some form of criminal activity.

Yet over the last couple of years, violent crime has skyrocketed. That’s been clear as day.

What’s interesting, is that Gallop conducted a survey to see how many people reported being victimized by crime, and the numbers are interesting.

Crime victimization reporting rates climbed up three percentage points from 2020 lows.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday found that 23 percent of U.S. adults said they or a member of their household was a victim of a crime in the past year. In 2020, this rate was 20 percent — several percentage points lower than any year Gallup has measured since 2000.

This year’s rate is still the second lowest found during that time period, and notably lower than recent high-water marks between 2009 and 2016, when rates ranged from 26 to 29 percent, according to Gallup’s annual survey, which was conducted from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19.

The most frequent crime experienced by survey participants or members of their households was having “money or property was stolen,” followed by having a “home, car or property” vandalized.

So this covered the gamut of crimes, from simple property crimes to homicides. Every level of victim you care to name, and what we’re seeing here are fewer people reporting being victimized by crime at any level.

That doesn’t really comport with the narrative of crime soaring out of control, now does it?

Well, it does and it doesn’t.

What we know is that property crimes are down across the board and have been trending down for quite some time. They generally represent the lion’s share of all crime and pretty much always have. With that down, it would stand to reason that fewer people will report being victims.

Violent crime, on the other hand, is ticking up, but as it’s a relatively small portion of all crime, it’s not enough to tip the balance on the victimization survey.

Of course, Gallup reports that violent crime victimization rates held steady, so who knows?

However, the Gallup poll did find some very interesting tidbits that The Hill failed to report in their story. For the Gallop report itself:

Americans who say they live in a “big” or a “small” city are significantly more likely today than in 2020 to indicate their household was victimized by crime. Thirty percent of city residents, up from 22% in 2020, say a member of their household was the victim of one or more of the seven crimes. The current figure is also higher than in 2019 (26%).

Nineteen percent of both suburban and town or rural residents say their household was victimized by crime in the past 12 months. Both figures are lower than what Gallup measured in 2019, though for rural residents it is slightly higher than in 2020.

According to Gallup’s measure, violent crime rates are also higher in urban areas, with 7% of city residents versus 4% of suburban and rural residents saying a member of their household was the victim of a violent crime in the past 12 months. Those figures essentially match the historical averages of 6% among city residents, 4% among suburban and 3% among rural residents.

Now, why would that get left out of The Hill’s story? That seems pretty significant, especially in light of violent crime victimization rates holding steady overall.

It’s interesting to note that cities tend to favor more restrictive gun policies than rural areas will. Funny, that, ain’t it?

Either way, the fact that the rate is so relatively low, especially in comparison to crime statistics is interesting data, one that I’m sure “experts” will be happy to spin in every direction you care to name.

I suspect we’ll see that come along any minute now.