US Violent Crimes Trend Downward (1997-2016)

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program is a valuable resource when it comes to crime analysis.  I recently decided to investigate the question, “As the US population continues to increase, are we seeing more violent crimes being committed or less?”  The data used to answer this question can be found here.

In my analysis, I didn’t just want to look at violent crime rates, as rates may decrease simply because the population increases at a faster rate than violent crimes.  I wanted to know if the volume or count of violent crimes was actually decreasing.  As you can see from the following visual, violent crimes are indeed trending downward even though the population has been steadily climbing.  There are, however, two noticeable increases in violent crimes during 2004-2006 and 2014-2016.  These are increases of about 75k and 95k, respectively.

violent_crimes_1997-2016

Now that we see that violent crimes are in fact trending downward, let’s visualize the violent crime rates by offense.

violent_crime_rates_1997-2016

As news coverage of violent events has become more accessible, we may perceive a different story.  Emotionally or psychologically, things may seem like they’re getting worse.  However, the data tells us that things are getting better, at least from a violent crime perspective.

[Developed using Tableau Public.  You can view this story here.]

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