Lott: As Reported and Nonreported Crime Rises, More People Are Carrying

While the rate of reported violent crime fell 2.1% between 2021 and 2022, the National Crime Victimization Survey shows that total violent crime—reported and nonreported—rose from 16.5 incidents to 23.5 per 1,000 people. Nonreported violent crime in 2022 exceeded the 2015-19 average by more than 17%.

crime scene tape in building with blurred forensic team background

Data reflect the scant consequences criminals face. During 2022 in cities with more than a million people, only 8.4% of all violent crimes (reported and unreported) and 1.4% of all property crimes resulted in an arrest. Not all those arrests resulted in charges.

Initial estimates cited by some news organizations show murder rates dropping 13% between 2022 and 2023. Murders usually are reported, so they don’t have the same reporting flaws as other violent crimes. Yet last year’s projected murder rate was still 5.51 per 100,000 people, or 7% above its 2019 level.

Law enforcement has collapsed in the U.S., particularly in big cities. With many Americans no longer confident that the legal system will protect them, some 22 million now have concealed handgun permits. Twenty-nine states have adopted constitutional-carry laws that allow citizens to carry a firearm without a permit. A Crime Prevention Research Center survey last year found that 15.6% of general-election voters carry concealed handguns all or most of the time. That’s three times the level found in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. 

— John R. Lott, Jr. in The Media Say Crime Is Going Down. Don’t Believe It

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