“Hard Times Don’t Mean More Crimes”
Crime rate continues to fall across the U.S. as states incarcerate fewer people

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Violent and property crimes across the United States are falling this year according to figures released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The agency’s annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) shows all categories of violent crime and property crime fell from 2009 to 2010; all four regions of the country experienced drops in both violent and property crime.

The total number of crimes reported to law enforcement have been consistently declining since 2007. This year saw an impressive 6 percent drop in violent crimes, accompanied by a 2.7 percent decrease in property crimes. According to analysis released today by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), the steadily declining crime rate has occurred as states are incarcerating fewer people and spending less money on corrections.

“The data makes clear that our states, cities, and communities can maintain and even improve public safety while reducing the number of people in prison,” said Tracy Velázquez, executive director of JPI. “That crime is falling and states are allocating fewer resources toward corrections tells us that we are heading on the right track and should continue to reduce the reliance on incarceration and devote resources to services and supports that strengthen and promote the well-being of all people and communities.

“Some may be surprised by these figures given the country’s economic struggles, but the data tells us that hard times don’t mean more crimes,” added Velázquez. “That being said, incarceration policies tend to have a disproportionate impact on people from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. It is vital, even as we see violent and property crimes down in every region of the country and in both metropolitan cities and rural towns, that policymakers make smart investments to help those who need it most. Dedicating resources to jobs, education, housing and treatment, will continue the downward trend on crime and improve our communities and the lives of our friends and neighbors.”

Click here to view JPI’s factsheet analyzing the FBI’s data.

For additional information, please contact Zerline Hughes at (202) 320-1029 or [email protected] or Jason Fenster at (202) 558-7974 x306 or [email protected].

The Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, DC, is working to reduce the use of incarceration and the justice system and promoting policies that improve the well-being of all people and communities. For more information, please visit www.justicepolicy.org.