As the economy worsens, crime increases -- or so experts have said. Yet numbers compiled by the FBI showcase a national decrease that has criminologists and sociologists scratching their heads.
Rather than seeing an increase in rapes, murders and burglaries during the down economy, the United States has experienced a collective decrease that appears to contradict rational expectations. The New York Times has more:
In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year...
Nationally, murder fell 4.4 percent last year. Forcible rape — which excludes statutory rape and other sex offenses — fell 4.2 percent. Aggravated assault fell 3.6 percent. Property crimes — including burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson — fell 2.8 percent, after a 4.6 percent drop the year before.
Unfortunately, despite national gains, the news wasn't so good for New York City -- a place that has been dubbed, in recent years, the "safest big city in America." According to The Times, in 2010 "The number of rapes in New York City jumped 24.5 percent; robberies, 5.4 percent, and aggravated assaults, 3.2 percent." While these numbers are certainly discouraging, some experts say that New York's crime has fallen so low over the last two decades that this bump in the road may not mean much in the grander schema.