Gap Between City, Suburban Crime Rates Narrowed Over 3 Decades


Brookings Institution researchers analyzed data for the 5,400 communities in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas and found that in cities, violent crime rates dropped almost 30 percent and property crime 46 percent between 1990 and 2008. (The analysis was based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, which includes only reported crimes.)

The gap between city and suburban violent crime rates declined in nearly two-thirds of metro areas, and the property crime gap narrowed in 90 of the 100 largest metro areas, Brookings found. In suburban communities, older high-density suburbs experienced the largest declines in crime rates. Within metro areas, older, more urbanized, poorer, and more minority communities have benefited the most from these trends, narrowing the disparities between cities and suburbs and underscoring that crime is not a uniquely urban issue, but a metropolitan one, Brookings says.

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