Most Americans are wrong about crime

From Vox.

But they’re right that something has changed in American cities.

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In 2020 and 2021, amid a pandemic that wreaked general havoc on the social fabric of the United States, violent crime rose. Today, most Americans believe that crime in the US has come roaring back — maybe even to the levels of the 1980s and ’90s.

But a look at the data shows a very different story. Nevertheless, the feeling that our cities are less safe is at least partly coming from something real. Something has changed in American cities, particularly since the pandemic. So what’s different, and what is the truth about crime in America right now?

Chapters:
00:00 Crime up or crime down
1:27 Crime stats
3:23 Public perception
4:26 Where crime is
7:03 Cities have changed
8:40 Stats don’t matter

Sources and further reading:
Jeff Asher is maybe the preeminent analyst of American crime data. His Substack is an essential read if you want to learn more about crime stats: https://jasher.substack.com/

Several of Asher’s articles were foundational as we put this video together. Here’s his summary of what the 2023 crime data says: https://jasher.substack.com/p/crime-i…

And here’s his take on what the crime stats in 2024 are looking like so far: https://jasher.substack.com/p/its-ear…

Asher has also written about the public perception of crime, and gets into some angles that we don’t: https://jasher.substack.com/p/america…

Here’s the Gallup data we reference in the video: https://news.gallup.com/poll/544442/a…

Abdallah Fayyad writes for Vox and his reporting was foundational to this story, particularly around the turn toward tough-on-crime policies: https://www.vox.com/policy/24139552/c…

And here’s Fayyad on the effects of crafting criminal justice policy based on perception: https://www.vox.com/politics/24025691…

Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennan Center, helped us understand the origin of crime statistics and what it is and isn’t good for: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-wor…

And of course there’s the work of Hanna Love and Tracy Hadden Loh from the Brookings Institution, which anchors this story: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/th…

The data on mental health treatment capacity in New York state came from this March 2024 report: https://www.osc.ny.gov/files/reports/…

And the unsheltered homelessness numbers come from HUD’s 2023 homelessness report: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/sites/…

Finally, here’s that ABC News poll: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/6-mon…

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