Does yesterday’s FBI compilation showing violent crime up nationwide last year mean that crime rates in the U.S. are will steadily rise as they did in the late 1980s and early 1990s? Expert opinion is mixed, says USA Today. “This report should serve as a strong wake-up call,” said Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, whose city recorded a 25 percent increase in gun-related crime last year. “We better realign our focus to the war going on in some of our cities.” Edward Flynn, police commissioner in Springfield, Ma., said local police agencies have yet to recover from the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which led the federal government to redirect tens of millions of dollars in grants from policing projects to homeland security programs.
Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said it was “too soon” to say whether crime is on the way back up. He noted that the overall crime rate for violent and property offenses remained low compared with the past 30 years. McNulty said increases in violence could reflect factors including a rise in gang membership, the spread of methamphetamine, and increasing numbers of young people, who commit the most crimes. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, said, “We believe we’re on the front end of a tipping point on violent crime.” Here is how the Associated Press listed the 10 most populous cities: New York, one crime per 37.38 residents; San Jose, Ca.: 1/34.46; Los Angeles: 1/25.97; San Diego: 1/24.09; Chicago: 1/21.9; Philadelphia: 1/17.96; Houston: 1/14.17; San Antonio: 1/14.12; Phoenix: 1/14.10; Dallas: 1/11.79.