America’s major cities experienced overall declines in violent crime and murder through 2018, NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice said in its final analysis of last year’s crime landscape.
The Center’s third and final estimate of 2018 crime figures in the 30 largest U.S. cities confirmed its preliminary conclusions last December that, contrary to the assertions of President Donald Trump and others in his administration, the nation was not experiencing a “crime wave.”
Using data provided by local police agencies in 26 of the 30 largest cities (some agencies’ figures were not available), Brennan said the murder rate had declined by 8 percent since 2017, and violent crime (in 25 of the cities) dropped by 4 percent.
Overall crime rate declined only slightly by 3.5 percent.
The murder decrease “indicates that the major city murder rate will approximate 2015 levels, but remain above 2014’s low point,” the Brennan report said.
However, the overall figures hid some marked increases in a few cities in 2018. Washington DC’s murder rate per 100,000 rose by 35.6 percent, reflecting 160 homicides last year, compared to 116 in 2017.
Similarly, the murder rates in Philadelphia increased by 8.5 percent, and by 1 percent in New York.
“These increases suggest a need to better understand how and why murder is increasing in some cities,” the report said.
In a brighter note, the report noted that Chicago’s murder rate, which had been increasing since 2015, had declined by nearly 12 percent in 2018.
But the number of murders (576) was still above 2014 levels.
In Baltimore, another city ravaged by homicides, the murder rate declined by 9.1 percent.
The figures released Wednesday mirror overall national crime rates tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In February, the FBI reported the first six months of 2018 recorded the biggest semi-annual violent crime drop in four years.
For Brennan’s earlier reporting, see “US Crime Wave’ Claims Are Wrong: Study.”
The latest Brennan Center report is available here.