There are growing concerns about violence despite FBI statistics - so who is right?

Originally written for Crime in America. Republished with permission.

Overview Of Crime Data

There is a comprehensive overview of crime data from this site, see Violent and Property Crime Rates In The U.S.


“Misinformation is fun. This is something that’s never really addressed by the rotating cast of reporters, researchers, and other types of content cops that get trotted out on the news to scold people for sharing dangerous memes….. It’s just entertainment now.”

Third In A Series-Previous Articles

President Biden States That Crime Decreased Considerably-Did It?

So It’s Impossible To Have An Honest Conversation About Crime?


I’m not a big believer in anecdotal evidence. You can tell endless stories of crime rising or declining and it’s not a substitute for hard data. I interviewed hundreds of former offenders now doing well but that doesn’t negate the fact that the vast majority of released inmates are rearrested or reincarcerated.

But here’s my struggle, I provide what I believe to be a fair assessment of the latest crime data showing huge increases in violent crime (44 percent in 2022) via the National Crime Victimization Survey per criminologist  Jeff Asher and The Marshall Project. There was a huge increase in violence among groups.

Violent crime was essentially flat in 2022 per the latest full-year report from the FBI. There are decreases for the first three quarters of 2023 from the FBI, but the bulk of 2023 data is not in yet. Many (most?) law enforcement agencies don’t report yearly figures till the end of the year in December.

Yet President Biden is claiming “Last year, the United States had one of the lowest rates of all violent crime in more than 50 years,”

He claimed that crime decreased in 2022. 

Most Crimes Are Not Reported To Law Enforcement

Just note that the overwhelming majority of crime is NOT reported to law enforcement. The FBI’s figures are “reported” crimes. The National Crime Victimization Survey is a count of all crimes with a couple of exceptions.

Forty-two percent of violent crime is reported along with 32 percent of property crimes which means that the vast majority of what we call crime is not brought to the attention of the police.

74 percent of violent victimizations against juveniles were not reported to the police and juvenile crime seems to be exploding in cities.

President Biden, Citizens, And Crime Statistics-Someone’s Wrong

As stated, President Biden declared that violent crime has fallen to one of its lowest levels in “more than 50 years” while the National Crime Victimization Survey just recorded the largest increase in violent crime in our nation’s history.

The national media doesn’t seem to care about the best possible data through the National Crime Victimization Survey measuring all crime (with some exceptions), not just “reported” crime through the FBI.

The complexities are endless when it comes to  US Department of Justice figures. Their reports and websites are difficult for the average person or reporter to understand. There are endless things to consider when examining “reported” crime that muddy the resulting statistics beyond the fact that the majority of crime is not reported.

Based on the sheer complexity of crime statistics, people’s approach to the crime discussion seems predicated on anything beyond US Department Of Justice data. Most media sources won’t even acknowledge the existence of the National Crime Victimization Survey and its 44 percent increase in violence or huge increases for groups.

What The Media And People Are Saying About Crime

As to people’s perceptions, I get it. When I look at my daily commercial (for profit) news feed, it lately seems to be about increasing crime.

What’s surprising about reader comments? I’m now getting similar feedback from liberal and conservative social media sites. Most collectively believe that violence is a growing problem substantiated by Gallup’s finding that fear of crime is at record levels. It doesn’t seem to matter if the FBI’s “reported” crime indicates decreases across the board for the first three-quarters of 2023, people believe that violence is up.

Recent Reader Comments: (lightly edited for brevity)

Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t be a crime to commit murder or assault soon.

Yeah of course crimes and arrests are down when lawmakers keep considering more and more things not a crime. Weee? Not a crime. Shoplifting a small amount? Not a crime.

Probably because crime can no longer be defined as an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law. Lawmakers take little note of what constitutes a breach of a law or rule, and they ignore or excuse illegal acts, prosecutions are patchy and politized and punishment is no longer part of the process.

Depending on the views of the speaker, the listener(s), and their respective agendas, the “truth” is already a messy soup of perception. Add to it the manipulation of statistics, to engineer the “truth” to fit the needs of one or more agendas, and you’ve got the modern discussion on crime.

An actual honest discussion, or as close as any group of human beings could ever hope to get to one, would require all to align their respective agendas into a unified search for the objective truth, entering into the conversation in good faith, and good luck with that.

A southern sheriff’s office was known to classify burglaries, in which nothing was stolen, as “property damage,” because burglary was UCR reportable and just “property damage” wouldn’t make the county look bad. If the front door was kicked in, it was frequently determined to be less than $200 in property damage, regardless of how much it cost to repair/replace properly. But hey, yeah, we might have a little property damage here and there, but no real burglary problem to worry about. C’mon down.

How about a suicide in a park being changed to mental/medical emergency so the stats didn’t show a suicide in the park. They all do it.

Unfortunately, in law enforcement, be it local or federal, honesty is a trait that does not get you promoted.

A Sample Of Recent Media Reports On Crime: (edited for brevity)

Per the Associated Press, New York State is sending the National Guard to protect the New York City subway system.

The Washington Post wrote about closing drug stores as a reaction to crime.

The Los Angeles Times wrote about liberal prosecutors fighting for their political lives.

USA Today offers “A new wave of ‘tough-on-crime’ laws aim to intimidate criminals.”

The Associated Press writes about eight Philadelphia high school students waiting to board a city bus after classes wounded by gunshots, the fourth shooting on the transit system in as many days.

Politico writes that Big blue cities are embracing conservative anti-crime measures. Here’s why.

The Associated Press writes Houston police chief apologizes for department not investigating 264K cases due to staffing issues.

CNBC: Companies continue to call retail crime an industrywide dilemma.

The Atlantic: D.C.’s Crime Problem Is a Democracy Problem.

New York Times: In a city known as a progressive bastion, voters resoundingly passed two conservative-leaning ballot measures this week, on police authority and drug screening.

From The Marshall Project:

For decades, Louisiana had the nation’s highest rate of incarceration. And — given that the U.S. is among the most carceral countries on the planet — the state arguably spent some 20 years as the “prison capital” of the world.

Another new Louisiana law mandates that 17-year-olds accused of crimes be charged as adults, rather than in the juvenile justice system, reversing a 2017 reform that did the opposite.

The package of laws included other components that may not directly increase the prison population, but are designed to signal a “tough” approach to crime. This includes authorizing electrocution and nitrogen gas as execution methods, and making public the criminal records of minors accused of certain crimes.

Louisiana is not alone. Across the country, state legislatures are rapidly advancing punitive bills and rolling back criminal justice reforms, largely in response to fears about crime.

In Georgia, Senate Bill 63 — which has passed the state Senate and House — would add 30 charges to the list of crimes that require judges to impose cash bail to release a person from jail pretrial.

In Kentucky, a similar measure to restrict charitable bail funds passed in the state House and is pending in the Senate. It’s part of a broader package that would also stiffen penalties for the sale of fentanyl and some gun crimes, and impose a life sentence without parole on anyone convicted of a violent offense for a third time.

This week the Washington, D.C., city council also passed a “massive” crime bill that, similarly, “puts the liberal city ​​on a track toward harsher punishments for a range of crimes from illegal gun possession to retail theft,” according to The Washington Post.

While they vary dramatically in scope and approach, punitive legislative efforts are also underway in OregonTennesseeVermont and elsewhere. As in Louisiana, many of these legislative efforts aim to undo reforms passed in recent years.

Progressive Thought

The articles above are recent and I could offer similar examples. The theme is that violent crime is a growing problem while some (not all) question progressive ideology (i.e., the defund the police movement). 

Polling organizations state that crime is one of the most important issues to voters. There are cities where violent crime is increasing across the board or for specific categories per the Major City Chiefs Association for the third quarter of 2023.


I provide conflicting narratives, per the President, crime is at record lows. Per the 2022 National Crime Victimization Survey, we have the largest increase in violent crime in the nation’s history.  

Per the FBI, based on crimes reported to law enforcement, violent crime was essentially flat in 2022 but with considerable decreases for the first three quarters of 2023 while acknowledging that the bulk of law enforcement yearly data comes during the fourth quarter (December) which could change results considerably.

Per Gallup, we have a record fear of crime. Per media reports, we are moving away from progressive measures because of crime. Per my readers, violence in their communities is up.

Per the Major Cities Chiefs Association measure of cities, homicides increased by 50 percent in 2022 compared to 2019. Aggravated assaults increased by 36 percent.

Is there a consensus we can all live comfortably with? Probably not. But the media ignoring the 44 percent increase in violent crimes via the National Crime Victimization Survey seems fundamentally, ethically, journalistically, and morally wrong.

But there’s a possibility (probability?) that the fourth quarter statistics from the FBI for 2023 will substantiate reductions in crime.

Who’s right? We’re about to find out via updated crime data and the election. But if I were advising the President, I would tell him to soft-peddle claims of massive decreases in violence regardless of 2023 fourth quarter FBI statistics.

I’m not sure people are buying his claims. Inflation is down yet the economy is the top voter issue. Statistics and voter perceptions are two different things.

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seems they don't count illegal border insurgents when they attack Americans on our streets. democrats groomed by communists are destroying America for china money.


I have an idea, the Police should do catch and release. Catch the bad guys and release them on the lawns of all the left wing politicians who are anti Police and Pro bad guy. See how long that lasts before the whining snowflakes are crying about the crime rates.


One of the most corrupt organizations in America. The FBI

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