Thursday, August 06, 2009

More Truth and Honesty in Research—the Concern this Time, Perception and Dissemination

When sex crimes, blood, guts, and questionable fires highlight most local and national newscasts on television, online, and in the paper, the most shocking news is in the statistics--crime is going down in the US.

That’s actually been happening for well over a decade.

But everyone assumed the great recession would drive crime rates up but, according to current FBI statistics, crime is actually continuing to drop in nearly every major city.

Shaila Dawan explores this unexpected phenomenon in “The Real Murder Mystery? It’s the Low Crime Rate, in an August 2 article the New York Times, as well as the challenges of explaining this situation this situation poses to the experts.

As a resident of a large city and visitor to many others, this information is certainly reassuring.

As a news junkie, I’m surprised I’m just reading about this, and find it odd that this information seems to be invisible on other news sources. Perhaps I missed it, but—as a happy couple makes for a lousy soap opera, so safer streets make for lousy news ratings.

As the child of an elderly parent who’s perhaps unnecessarily concerned about crime, I wish these reassuring numbers were more widely reported.

And as a researcher, this situation proves, once again, the importance of letting the data speak. It often says things we do not expect.

Read Shaila’s article at


Micha said...

Given that according to FBI stats crime in the US has been declining since 1991, it is indeed surprising that you only found out about it now.
Safety has always been a pretty big concern of mine so any mention of crime has always piqued my interest. These stats are released to the public every year. Maybe access to the info depends on which media one is exposed to.

Saul Carliner said...

I never said I just found out about it now; I merely commented on a recent article. I've been following these stats since the early 1990s, too.