The 2017 murder rate in the 30 largest American cities is estimated to decline by 5.6 percent by year’s end according to a newly updated report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law.
The findings released this week are based on data collected from police departments and other sources in each of the cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.
The murder rate in Chicago, for example, which increased significantly in 2015 and 2016, is projected to decline by 11.9 percent in 2017. Yet it still remains 62.4 percent above 2014’s historically low levels. The murder rate in Detroit is estimated to fall by 9.8 percent. New York City’s murder rate will also decline again, to 3.3 killings per 100,000 people.
For the four California cities measured, Los Angeles is expected to show a 7.5 percent drop in its murder rate when the final numbers are in. San Diego’s murder rate is projected to fall a far more dramatic 29.7 percent, with San Jose’s coming down even more, at 33.6 percent. San Francisco showed the biggest projected dive in murders of the four California cities, with a 36.9 percent decrease.
When it came to violent crime in general, there was less consistency among the state’s four cities. Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco are projected to rise somewhat over 2016 rates, with a 4.7 percent rise for LA, 2.0 percent in San Jose, and 1.4 percent for San Francisco.
San Diego, in contrast, showed an estimated 4.0 percent reduction in violent crime.
Nationwide, there was similar inconsistency, from city to city. Yet, overall, violent crime in the U.S. is expected to drop 1.1 percent when this year’s final numbers are in.
“These findings,” wrote the authors, “directly undercut any claim that the nation is experiencing a crime wave.”
With this statement, the researchers may be referring to remarks that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made last Tuesday when he seemed to ignore his own Department of Justice statistics by telling a Baltimore crowd that there had been a 13 percent spike in the violent crime rate, never mind that the DOJ report he was citing said there had been no measurable change.
In September we wrote about, the Brennan Center’s preliminary report, which analyzed available crime data from the same 30 cities, estimating that these cities would see a slight decline in all measures of crime in 2017. However, in those early estimates LA’s murder rate was expected to go up, in contrast with this week’s updated stats, which predict that 7.5 percent drop.
This analysis updates the September report with more recent data to find the murder rate estimates noted above. Yet, as researchers Grawert and Cullen also note, “murder rates in some cities remain above 2015 levels, demonstrating a need for evidence-based solutions to violent crime in these areas.”