A new Brennan Center report analyzed 2015 crime data from the nation’s 30 largest cities and found that reports of a nationwide crime wave are unsupported. In fact, crime overall in 2015 is projected to be about 1.5 percent lower than last year. While murder rates are projected to be slightly higher than in 2014, the historically low baseline for murder means that a small increase in the number of murders can result in a percentage increase that seems more troubling than it should — and lends itself to shocking headlines. “The average person in a large urban area is safer walking on the street today than he or she would have been at almost any time in the past 30 years,” wrote authors Matthew Friedman, Nicole Fortier, and James Cullen. Several cities, including Milwaukee and St. Louis, have unusually high murder rates but also share significantly lower incomes, higher poverty rates, higher unemployment, and falling populations compared to the national average, while showing no indication of being part of a national trend.
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