Crime Falls to a 30-Year Low in 2002


There were fewer crimes last year than at any time since
such data were first collected 30 years ago, says an annual
study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department
statistics unit identified about 23 million crime victims
in 2002, fewer than in 2001 and nearly half the 44 million
victims recorded when studies began in 1973.

Crime has been steadily declining during the past 10 years,
according to the report. The number of violent crimes and
property crimes has fallen 50 percent since 1993, and the
drop has been noted in every demographic category,
regardless of race, region or household income. One
exception to this overall downward trend in crime was the
slight increase in 2001.

Violent crimes are defined as rape, robbery, aggravated and
simple assault, and homicide. Property crimes include
burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft. Murders are not
included in Bureau of Justice Statistics but are tracked by
the FBI.

These statistics baffle experts who anticipated that with
the current sluggish economy, rise in unemployment and
increased number of newly released ex-convicts on the
streets, the number and rate of crimes would have

In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Alfred
Blumstein, a criminologist from Carnegie Mellon University
in Pittsburgh, says,  “The only thing that I can think of
that can be seen as contributing to a downward trend is
some sense of cohesion emerging as a result of the
terrorist threat or the terrorist reality. Other than that,
I don’t see much that should be contributing to this

Because of these statistics, along with budget crunches
being experienced by many state and local governments,
there has been a trend nationwide to make cuts in crime
prevention and control programs, police forces and after-
school programs.

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