Poll Confirms Misinformation About U.S. Crime Trends

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Sixty-one percent of Americans believe incorrectly that crime is up over the past decade, according to a poll by the Huffington Post and You.gov. Just 15 percent of Americans said they believed ― correctly ― that crime rates in the U.S. have decreased over the past decade.  That’s great news for Donald Trump, who has positioned himself as a law-and-order candidate who presents an apocalyptic view of lawlessness.

The poll results indicate that false beliefs about crime rates are shaped not by lived experience or by an analysis of government crime statistics, but by people’s perceptions typically influenced by news coverage and social media in an era in which people may be more aware of individual crimes than they may have been in the past. While just 13 percent of Americans believe crime is a very serious problem in their own community, 53 percent believe crime is a very serious problem in the nation overall.

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