Today new crime statistics were released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime in the United States program. In light of the findings, national corrections and crime experts urged policymakers to prioritize effective investments in violence prevention.
“While crime is at 20-year lows, the increases in reported violent crime, particularly in some of our most distressed communities, are a matter of concern,” said Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute. “To deal with this public safety challenge, we urge policymakers to increase their investments in holistic violence prevention approaches that address the causes of crime and target resources to places that are most impacted by violent crime.”
Some of the places hit hardest by upticks in crime face challenges prioritizing holistic approaches:
- In 2015, Baltimore, Maryland, experienced a significant increase in lethal violence. This year, the city cut funding for a violence prevention approach through the health department that focused on the neighborhoods most impacted by violent crime. The funds were later restored, but only through the end of 2016.
- In Virginia, the data show that numerous cities and counties experienced increases in homicides in 2015. But this year, the Virginia legislature rejected Medicaid expansion, leaving a treatment gap for people who are involved in the justice system, and whose drug challenges may aggravate recidivism. Other important approaches that would expand access to mental health services have not been fully funded.
- In Washington, D.C., the increase in homicides in 2015 garnered national attention. Unfortunately, this year the city did not fully fund an approach to violence prevention endorsed unanimously by the city council.
For more information, including in depth analysis of the crime trends within the Metropolitan Washington region and nationally, and detailed information how cities could respond to increases in crime, please contact JPI Communications Director Elizabeth Deal (917.620.9540).