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The Myth of Rising Crime: Citizen Perception vs. Statistical Evidence

Over the past few days, a number of articles have been published dealing with citizens’ perception of crime versus the actual crime data coming out of police departments. Overall, it seems that most people feel that crime is on the rise, even though most areas of the country are actually experiencing a drop in crime.

New York, LA, New Jersey, San Francisco, and other large populations centers are all experiencing a recent drop in crime that has largely gone unpublished in the media. In addition, there is a common-sense line of thinking that states that when the economy goes bad, crime goes up. However logical this may seem, there is actually no proven correlation between a bad economy and high crime rates. In fact, proving such a correlation is almost impossible because of the sheer amount of variables involved. But these factors go into the formation of public opinion that crime is on the rise, when the numbers actually contradict that assumption.

The Item published an interesting article recently about the fine line of reporting crime, basically asking the question: how do you balance giving the public the information they need without overplaying the amount of crime committed? Perhaps the solution lies in getting more information out to the public through tools like CrimeReports.com, Twitter, Facebook, and other internet and print-based media.

Is the perception of crime higher than the reality in your area? What can we do to change it? Leave a comment.

Sources:
Hudson Reporter

LA Times
Contra Costa Times
New York Daily News
The Item

Related Post: Bad Economy=More Crime?
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