Despite recession, violent crimes and property offenses both down — for third straight year
Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 25, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Crime in the United States dropped dramatically in 2009, bucking a historical trend that links rising crime rates to economic woes. Property crimes and violent offenses each declined about 5 percent, the FBI said Monday, citing reports from law enforcement coast to coast.
It was the third straight year of declines, and this year’s drops were even steeper than those of 2007 and 2008, despite the recession.
There were words of caution from experts.
“It’s fabulous news, but I would draw an analogy to global warming: Even if you believe the long-term trend is increasing temperatures, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a cold year,” said Jonathan P. Caulkins, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.
Last year’s decline was 5.5 percent for violent crime, including 7.2 percent for murders. The rate for property crime was down 4.9 percent, the seventh consecutive drop for that category. The declines had been a more modest 1.9 percent for violent crime and 0.8 percent for property crime in 2008 and 0.7 percent and 1.4 percent respectively the previous year.