Changes in Homicide Rates in the Last 10 Years Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Homicide Rates Increased or Decreased in 10 Years?

Rates of murders and violent crimes have witnessed a downward trend for over twenty years. The rate of violent crimes in the nation has been lowest, for the year 2014, since 1970; moreover, the rate of homicides for 2014 was at its lowest point since the year 1960. Despite these rates showing an increase in the year 2015, the murder rate would only reach its post-1960 maxima of 10.2 homicides for every 100,000 individuals, if it increased by 5.7 murders for every 100,000 individuals. Meanwhile, the rate of violent crimes would only reach its post-1960 maxima of 758.2 violent crimes (year 1991) for every 100,000 individuals, if it increased by 392.7 crimes of violence for every 100,000 individuals (James, 2015). The above two growths indicate an over-two-fold rise in the 2014 rates of violent crimes and homicide. There are numerous short-term facets capable of explaining reported violent crime upticks across USA: yearly crime rate variations are subject to arbitrary fluctuations; a number of cities have been witnessing crime rate rises from their respective historically low crime levels; crime rates can modify seasonally; and the percentage of reported-crime variation represents a relative, magnitude-sensitive measure (James, 2015).

Though the time to definitively conclude whether or not there is an upsurge in crimes of a violent nature may not yet have arrived, many commentators have wondered why growths in such crimes are seen in some cities. Proposed explanations include: the "Ferguson effect" (which is that, following a series of deaths of high-profile police officers, police forces become less willing to proactively carry out policing activities, thus emboldening criminals); increased violence may be because of gang wars for drug-turf control or released criminals perpetrating new offenses; and law enforcers are faced with a legitimacy challenge in certain communities whose inhabitants believe the police aren't treating them fairly; this can make individuals attempt to "take care of matters" themselves, without involving the law, in case of conflicts (James, 2015).

Validity of the Article

This work is valid, since homicide research in sixty of the most heavily populated American cities was gathered from various sources. Study data was obtained from media reports, websites of police departments, state uniform crime reporting (UCR) programs, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association survey. Researcher had to directly contact police departments, in some cases. Further, data provided was sometimes inconsistent. A…

Sources Used in Document:


James, N. (2015). Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing? Congressional Research Service, 2-10.

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