Experts are surprised at how much crime is declining as shown in the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University tells the Associated Press. From 1993 through 2010, the rate of violent crime has declined by a whopping 70 percent: from 49.9 violent crimes per 1,000 persons age 12 or older to only 14.9 per 1,000 in 2010. Half of this decline came between 1993 and 2001. Between 2001 and 2009, violent crime declined at a more modest annual average of 4 percent, but that rate decline jumped to 13 percent in 2010.
Blumstein said “the victimization survey is basically confirming” the FBI’s preliminary figures on crimes reported to police during 2010. That early, incomplete data showed reported crime fell across the board last year, extending a multi-year downward trend with a 5.5 percent drop in the number of violent crimes in 2010 and a 2.8 percent decline in the number of property crimes. The victimization survey figures are considered the government’s most reliable crime statistics, because they count crimes that are reported to the police as well as those which go unreported. Over the last decade, only about half of all violent crimes and only 40 percent of property crimes are reported to police.