Violent Crime, Including Murder, in the US is Declining in 2017
Treatment Versus Prison for Non-violent Offenders
America’s violent crime rate, including murder cases, is likely to fall downward according to the Brennan Center for Justice (BCF), a nonpartisan law and policy institute.
The study contradicts assertions made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the recent increases in violent crimes and murders in 2015 represent a “dangerous permanent trend.” Sessions has used similar statistics to sustain his argument that lengthy drug sentences should be imposed, a position not held by most scholars and practitioners other than some prosecutors.
The BCF report surveyed data from the police departments in the nation’s largest cities and concluded, “that all measures of crime — overall crime, violent crime, and murder — are projected to decline in 2017.”
The report projects the 2017 murder rate to be 2.5 percent lower than last year. The data was impacted mainly by the decreases noted in Detroit (down 25.6 percent), Houston (down 20.5 percent), and New York (down 19.1 percent). Chicago’s murder rate is also projected to fall, by 2.4 percent.
OUR FREE OPINION
We are not impressed with Session’s apparent loose use of statistics to bolster his position on getting tough on crime—we expect the data to be accurate. The Attorney General’s stance on increasing prison terms for drug offenders is also misplaced.
Modern criminologists favor lesser sentences for defendants convicted of non-violent drug crimes. The idea is that society should endorse treatment for addicts. We support this approach but draw an exception for users that compile multiple criminal convictions even if the crimes are drug-related. For example, an addicted thief who commits a series of theft crimes to support his habit, should not have his sentence lessened.