Homicides Have Plateaued, Car Theft Is Going Up
08/18/2022
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Probably the two most reliably counted crimes are homicide and car theft. Criminologist Richard Rosenfeld has been tracking crime in a couple of dozen big cities that report statistics promptly since 2020:

As noted in our earlier reports, the homicide increase of 2020 was historic, resulting in 1,268 more deaths in the cities studied than in 2019. That increase continued into 2021, but at a considerably slower pace. The number of homicides rose by 30% between 2019 and 2020, compared to a 5% increase between 2020 and 2021. The number then dropped by 2% during the first half of 2022 from the same period the year before. Despite that encouraging decline, the homicide rate remains 39% above the level prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (in the first half of 2019) and requires immediate action from policymakers.

The average monthly motor vehicle theft rate rose and fell cyclically with no evident linear trend from January 2018 to the end of May 2020 in the 26 cities with available data, as shown in Figure 18. It then rose, with seasonal fluctuations, to a peak in June of 2022. There were 10,535 more motor vehicle thefts in those cities during the first half of 2022 than in the first half of 2021, amounting to an average increase of 15% over 2021.

Catalytic converter thefts are way up.

We’re probably headed back toward the bad old days of car alarms, which interrupted my sleep so many times in Chicago in the 1980s.

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