A new report concludes that “contrary to the media narrative, overall crime decreased in 2020 compared to 2019,” reports NBC News. The study shows that homicides did go up last year but found the category to be an outlier. The report explores crime rates in 22 states and the District of Columbia, which submitted and published full data.
The report found “no difference in crime trends between Republican-led and Democrat-led states” from 2019 to 2020. The data released by Third Way, which describes itself as a “moderate, center-left” think tank, shows that overall crime fell by 3.3 percent in 2020.
Nevertheless, many Americans are worried about crime, as a Morning Consult Poll in July found 78 percent of voters say violent crime is a “major problem” and that 73 percent believe it is increasing.
“People’s view of crime is going to be shaped by their own world that they live in, which feels safe, and then the wider world that they experience through television and media. And so, on an issue like crime, it’s pretty easy to manipulate people to say it’s really bad,” said Jim Kessler, Third Way’s executive vice president for policy.
While crime rates have been dropping for years, experts say the increase in homicides is more of a recent phenomenon that got worse during the pandemic and after the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020, as economic and emotional strain increase along with the loss in public trust in police. Though researchers do say it isn’t clear exactly how those factors affected crime.
Gabriela Felitto is a TCR Justice Reporting intern.