Murders declined 6.5 percent in the largest U.S. cities in the first half of 2007, says an FBI summary quoted by USA Today. It was a sharp contrast with smaller cities, where murders rose 3.2 percent. Overall, murder declined by 1 percent in the nation and violent crime reports fell nearly 2 percent with drops in every major crime category, suggesting that some recent spikes in violence may be short-lived.
Some experts say one reason for the disparity in murder rates could be varying crime-fighting strategies, such as targeting juvenile offenders. “There is continued volatility, but there are cities that have made (enforcement) changes that are having a significant impact,” says Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. He says recent changes in crime have not been uniform, in contrast to the drug problems that swept the nation in the early 1990s. In Minneapolis and in Sacramento, where murder dropped 37 percent in the first half of 2007, Wexler says police targeted juvenile offenders. In Seattle, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske attributes a 12 percent decline in major crime in 2007 to a sharper focus on people who are returning to local communities from prison.