Victimization Survey Shows Era of Crime Decreases is Over, Fox Says


Yesterday’s Justice Department survey saying that violent crime in the U.S. increased for the second year in a row means that “we’ve plateaued,” criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University tells USA Today. “At this point, I don’t think we’re going to see any more decreases in crime. The challenge will be making sure crime rates don’t go back up.”

After two decades of falling crime rates, violent crime remains at historically low levels. Crime rates have dropped steadily since 1993, when 80 of every 1,000 people reported being victims of violent crime. Homicide totals fell 48 percent from 1993 to 2011. Keeping criminals behind bars longer and developing better crime-fighting technology helped drive down crime rates, Fox said. James Lynch, chairman of the University of Maryland’s criminology and criminal justice department and former director of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, said, “It’s not exactly a crime wave. It’s more like a flattening out. I don’t see this as terribly alarming, but more as something to pay attention to.”

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