Why are violent crime reports nationally up for the first time in many years? USA Today says criminologists cite many factors, including more gangs in more places, more juvenile offenders, more released prisoners, and more guns. Federal policy maker has given local police more responsibility for homeland security and less support for conventional crime fighting. David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City cautions against predicting a national crime resurgence. “The tendency is to think the whole country is moving in one direction,” he says. “That’s not all true. Chicago is doing better; Philadelphia is coming apart at the seams.” Even with last year’s uptick, “it’s too early to declare the beginning of a general crime increase,” says Thomas Repetto, author of several books on crime.
Still, the FBI-compiled crime statistics are “a dramatic statement of what’s been going on for awhile,” Kennedy says. USA Today takes a close look at what is going on in Hartford, Jersey City, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Al., and San Bernardino, Ca.