Crime drops, but Americans think that it has been rising?

For someone deeply involved in the data, it can be surprising to see the gap between what is happening and people's perceptions.  Surely the media has a big effect.
The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%. However, guns still remain the most common murder weapon in the United States, the report noted. Between 1993 and 2011, more than two out of three murders in the U.S. were carried out with guns, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found. . . .  
Despite the remarkable drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said gun crime had declined compared with two decades ago, according to Pew, which surveyed  more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased. 
It’s unclear whether media coverage is driving the misconception that such violence is up. The mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., were among the news stories most closely watched by Americans last year, Pew found. Crime has also been a growing focus for national newscasts and morning network shows in the past five years but has become less common on local television news. . . .
Thanks to Michael Wahl for the link. 

The one serious flaw that I have with PEW's discussion is that they keep discussing 1993 as if it were the peak year in violent crime.  In fact, 1991 was the peak year for murder, robbery, and overall violent crime.  And 1992 was the peak year for rape and aggravated assault.

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Blogger Necromancer said...

Violent crime sells the news and newspapers and television. It always has.So the lame stream media latched on to this thought and pushes it daily.

5/08/2013 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, but 1993 was the peak year for deaths from firearms. That's all they really care about. Whether those deaths were homicides, suicides, accidents or legal intervention doesn't matter in the least, nor do crimes that don't involve firearms. They'd be perfectly happy if there were 10 times as many murders, rapes and robberies every year, as long as none of them involved those nasty guns. Somebody needs to ask these people the same question Archie Bunker asked his daughter, Gloria, when she started spouting (bogus) statistics on gun deaths to him: "Would it make you any happier, little girl, if they was all pushed out of windows?"

5/08/2013 12:28 PM  

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