► Crime Rate Is Down- But Americans Don't Believe It

► Crime Is Serious Concern For 63% of Americans

► Washington Is A High Crime State

Sixty-three percent of Americans describe crime in the U.S. as either extremely or very serious, up from 54% when last measured in 2021 and the highest in Gallup's trend.  Yet a headline from National Public Radio reads: 

Violent crime is dropping fast in the U.S. — even if Americans don't believe it.

So what's the deal? Is crime bad or do we just think it is?

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Are Crime Fears A Hangover From The Past?

Between 2019 and 2020, across the country murders were up by nearly 30% and the overall violent crime rate, which includes murder, assault, robbery, and rape, was up around 5%.

But by last year, crime analyst Jeff Asher, says,

The national picture shows that murder is falling. We have data from over 200 cities showing a 12.2% decline ... in 2023 relative to 2022

Yet when you ask people about crime in the country, the perception is it's getting a lot worse with 77% of Americans believing there was more crime in the country than the year before.

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Seattle Is Still More Dangerous

Asher says some cities like Washington, D.C., Memphis, and Seattle, have higher murder rates but the general perception of more crime comes from publicized smash-and-grab crimes, stores closing due to shoplifting, and property crimes such as car theft.

Seattle also has a large and growing homeless population and blatant open-air drug use which people associate with a growing crime problem. A Seattle journalist filmed several viral videos of addicts shooting up in the middle of the street and it's acts like that contribute to a sense of increasing crime.

A report from the Republican caucus in the State House of Representatives confirms Washington is now a high-crime state.

<p>After 40 years of below-average crime rates, violent crime in Washington has reached record highs, increasing by nearly 20% in just five years.</p><p>While the U.S. sees a decline in homicide, Washington’s murder rate has increased 96% since 2019, culminating in a new state record in 2022.</p><p>While property crime has declined nationally, it has increased in Washington and our state ranks 2nd worst in the nation for property crime.</p><p>Washington has the 2nd highest rate of larceny theft incidents per capita and ranks as the #1 state most impacted by retail theft.</p><p>Washington now ranks as 3rd worst state in the nation for motor vehicle thefts.</p>
Like Many U.S. Cities, Seattle Struggles With Crime And Homelessness During Pandemic Era
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What Does Politics Have To Do With It?

The Gallup Poll indicates Republicans are far more likely than Democrats and independents to rate the U.S. crime problem as very serious and to say crime is increasing, both locally and nationally.  Why would that be?  Law and order vs laissez faire?

Still, crime does not appear to be the number one issue for most Americans, with just 3% naming it as the most important problem facing the country. 30 years ago, an average of 42% of Americans across four separate surveys named crime as the most important problem facing the U.S.

Other issues, including the government (19%), the economy (14%), inflation (14%), and immigration (13%) are more top-of-mind for most Americans, but residents of Washington State who have been shot, robbed, assaulted, and are without their car, may respectfully disagree.

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