A new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that in the 30 largest cities, crime rates are on track to decline 5.5 percent in 2015.
While crime rates are down, the 2015 murder rate has gone up — it’s projected to increase 14.6 percent from last year. Regarding the surge, the Brennan Center said: “In absolute terms, murder rates are so low that a small numerical increase leads to a large percentage change. Even with the 2015 increase, murder rates are roughly the same as they were in 2012. Since murder rates vary widely from year to year, one year’s increase is not evidence of a coming wave of violent crime,” the Center wrote in a post analyzing the data.
“The average person in a large urban area is safer walking on the street today than he or she would have been at almost any time in the past 30 years,” wrote Matthew Friedman, Nicole Fortier, and James Cullen in Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis. “Although headlines suggesting a coming crime wave make good copy, a look at the available data shows there is no evidence to support this claim.”
Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, together account for nearly half of the increase in murders nationwide. Washington is projected to have 172 murders by the end of 2015, a 64-percent increase from the prior year, while Baltimore is projected to have 343 murders, a 62.8-percent increase.
“In some cities, murder is up. However, there is not yet sufficient evidence to conclude that these levels will persist in the future or are part of a national trend,” the report states.