The number of homicides reported in Wisconsin last year fell to a 14-year low, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says. A new compilation says that reports of serious crime – violent and property crimes – in Wisconsin dropped by 0.9% in 2002, the ninth decrease in the last 10 years, the report says. However, violent crime rose by 1.4%, and reports of rape were up nearly 11%.
Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University in Boston expects crime to increase as the economy worsens and police budgets tighten. “We are seeing cuts in crime control and crime prevention programs because the economy is taking a nose dive,” Fox said. “Many successful initiatives that helped bring down crime rates are being slashed.”
Stan Stojkovic, a criminal justice professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, noted that the age group in which people are most likely to commit crimes – between 16 and 24 – is the largest it has been in years. That means “we should expect by next year’s data more homicides,” he said.
The new report also shows that Wisconsin’s clearance rate for homicides dropped dramatically, from 90% in 2001 to 56% last year.