What are the Crime Trends in the US, Facts, and Statistics

United States crime has been monitored and reported since the 1700’s. Crime rates have risen and fallen with a dramatic peak between 1970 and 1990. Crime started increasing after 1963, and current crime rates mirror those of the 1960’s.

Crime Trends

Current Crime Trends

Depending on the time frame, crime trends have changed focus. The U.S. Department of Justice classifies current crime trends into two groups, violent crime, and property crime. These two classifications of crime and the sub-set list of offenses are the most current crime trends right now.

Violent crimes include homicide, accidental or intentional murder, rape or other sexual assault charges, robbery with or without a weapon, assault, inducing aggravated or simple assault and purse snatching or pickpocketing. All of these crimes include injury or threat of injury to the victim.

Property crimes are burglary with or without the intent of theft. Anyone who is not authorized to be onsite at a property and breaks in or is found there illegally is guilty of burglary. Theft is also a crime within this classification and can be as simple as theft of cash or small belongings.

Motor vehicle theft is also included in this category; this includes attempted robberies that are unsuccessful.

How Has Crime Changed?

The truth is violent crime in America has actually decreased by a lot since the 1990’s. The two sources that confirm this are an annual report filed by the FBI and a yearly survey that poles more than 90,000 U.S. households each year.

  • Violent crime has fallen from 747,100 to 386,300 since 1993.
  • Twelve-year-olds report violent crime has dropped from 79,800 to 21,100 in that same period.
  •  Property crimes from 1993 until now have dropped from 4,740,000 to 2,450,700.
  • Violent crime has fallen 74% between 1993 and 2016.
  • The violent crime rate did rise between 2014-2016 by 7% and murder 20%.
  • Property crime has fallen 66% since the 1990’s.


Public perception, however, is misleading and most people believe that crime rates are up and worse than ever before. According to 17 Gallup polls, six-in-ten people say that there is more crime in the U.S. now than compared with previous years. Seeing so much crime reported on the news daily has warped perceptions.

Other research performed by Pew Research Center shows similar findings with 57% of registered voters believe that crime has gotten worse since 2008, even though the FBI data clearly indicates rates declining in double-digits.

Despite public opinion, it does not apply to local crime and only half of all American’s say crime is worse where they live.

Crime Facts and Why Has Crime Risen in the US?

Overall, crime has fallen nationally since the 1990’s but in some areas crime has risen and increased disproportionally to other regions.

One interesting variable is geographic differences between states and even city to city. For example, violent crimes were way up in Alaska, New Mexico, Nevada and Tennessee and way down in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The difference was 400 incidents per 100,000 residents. This massive differentiation is primarily due to economic conditions and overpopulation of cities.

Another example of public perception is that Chicago is widely assumed to be a very dangerous city. However, in 2016 the murder rate was only 28 manslaughters per 100,000 residents, meanwhile St. Louis soared with a rate of 60 per 100,000 residents.

Chicago view

Complicating the equation, most crimes committed are never reported to law enforcement. Additionally, the majority of crimes that are reported are never solved.

  • 42% of all violent crimes are reported.
  • 36% of property crimes are ever reported.
  • Nationwide only 46% of all violent crimes reported are ever solved.
  • Only 18% of property crimes that are reported are solved.
  • 69.3% of crimes committed in the U.S. are by White and Hispanic individuals.
  • Black individuals commit 28.1% of all U.S. crimes.
  • American Indians make up only 1.4% of the crimes committed in America.
  • Asian or Pacific Islanders commit 1.2% of American crimes.
  • Men commit 80.4% of violent crimes in the U.S.
  • Women commit 19.6% of violent crimes.
  • Property crimes were committed by men 62.9% of the time.
  • Only 37.1% of women committed property crimes.

Most crime victims, according to victimology reports are low-income, males under the age of 25 who are not white. The factors most relative to being a victim of violent crime are income, age, and gender.

The United States, however, does have the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

Despite popular opinion and the horrors we see on the news, nightly, new legislation and law enforcement upgrades are working and succeeding in keeping crime rates down and continuing that trend into the future.