The World is Not Going to Hell

Today the FBI released its preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report for 2008. The findings?

The world is not going to hell.  In fact, despite what you may have heard from your local street preacher, the United States actually became a safer place to live in 2008.  Some of the report’s highlights include:

  • Violent crime decreased by 3.5% in 2008, including:
    • 4.4% decline in murder
    • 4.1% decline in aggravated assault
    • 3.3% drop in rape
    • 2.2% drop in robbery
  • Property crime decreased by 2.5%, including:
    • 12.6% decrease in motor vehicle theft
    • 5.6% decrease in arson
    • 1.2% decrease in larceny/theft
    • 0.8% decrease in burglary

You might be surprised to discover that both violent crime and property crime (in the U.S.) have steadily decreased since the early 1990’s.  (Graphs are available here:

I’m certainly not advocating there isn’t a great deal of work left to do, but I’m tired of hearing people say that “the world is worse than it has ever been.”   At least in the United States, crime rates have been dropping for over 15 years.  In fact, current violent crime rates mirror those of the early 1970’s, while property crime rates are similar to those of the late 1960’s.

Obviously, crime rates are still way above where they should be – but let’s not ignore how far we’ve come.