FBI Releases 2015 Crime Numbers


According to the FBI’s annual crime report, which was released Monday, the murder rate jumped 10.8% in 2015 (15,696 murders and non-negligent manslaughters) compared with 2014 (14,164).

Violent crime rates are still close to historic lows. The 2015 homicide rate is still about 40% lower than it was in 1991 when Los Angeles killings were at their highest. The FBI report numbers reveal that the United States is experiencing the lowest property, burglary, and larceny crime rates since the 60s.

On Monday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch pointed out that 2015 was still the year with the third-lowest violent crime rate in 20 years. AG Lynch said the new data shows that the nation is moving in the right direction. “It shows that in many communities, crime has remained stable or even decreased from the historic lows reported in 2014,” AG Lynch said.

Normally more homicides means more minor crimes, too, but, interestingly, nonviolent crimes dropped during 2015. Crime experts are unsure what’s behind the anomaly.)

“An increase in the crime rate in some of our cities amounts to very small numbers,” says William Lansdowne, who has previously served as Police Chief of San Diego, San Jose, and Richmond, California. “It is not that we are saying the increase is not important, but instead that it takes small numbers to move the rate ten or twelve percent because the crime rate is so low. We are doing very well.”

A majority of the 10.8% increase (1,532) in homicides can be attributed to a cluster of cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Houston, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.

And actually, in Chicago, it’s just a small number of neighborhoods—the poorest communities—that are suffering from a spike in killings. Most of the city’s neighborhoods are still enjoying record low homicide rates. “Homicides are extremely concentrated in a few of these city’s most impoverished and segregated neighborhoods,” says Ronald Sullivan Jr., a law professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School.

Crime trends viewed over a decade or more provide a much clearer and broader picture, criminal justice experts agree.

In Baltimore and Washington DC, murder rates are already coming back down this year. “We can’t read too much into year-to-year fluctuations,” say Sullivan. “Two of the cities with homicide increases in 2015 are the District of Columbia and Baltimore. Yet, already in 2016 we are seeing near double-digit decreases in both cities.”

During the first presidential debate on Monday night, candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did briefly discuss the crime rates and other criminal justice issues.

Citing recent shootings of unarmed black men in Oklahoma and North Carolina, Clinton said she would work to improve police-community relations (through better training, policies, and more). Clinton says she will also push for “common sense” gun reforms to combat “the leading case of death of young African American men—more than the next nine causes put together.” More than 70% of 2015’s murders were committed with a firearm, according to the FBI stats.

Donald Trump brought up the homicide problem in Chicago where “you walk down the street, you get shot.” Trump said a return to “law and order” will reduce crime. “Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?” he asked.

Trump proceeded to make a case for bringing back controversial stop-and-frisk practices in cities like Chicago. Back in 2013, a federal judge ruled that the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional because it involved unfairly targeting blacks and Latinos for searches.

The FBI report’s release, just two months before an extremely consequential election, has caused a number of experts to caution against politicizing these numbers.

Mandatory minimum sentences and other tough-on-crime laws and policies haven’t worked, says former Assistant U.S. Attorney Miriam Krinsky (who was also the executive director of the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence here in Los Angeles). “If we could arrest and jail our way out of the gun violence problem, the neighborhoods in Chicago and elsewhere where there had been an uptick in crime would probably be the safest in America. But that’s not what the facts tell us.”


  • Crime went from historic highs in the 90s to historic lows about 5 years ago. Yet Ms. Krinsky and the writers of this blog need us to KNOW that tough-on-crime laws and policies had nothing to do with it.

  • We are headed in the wrong direction. Libs always say that we are at “historic lows” in order to justify the rise in murder, especially among young Black men. Maybe we should ask the Black Moms of Chicago about the “historic lows?” What are the stats with Black men? Are Black men murdering each more last year than years past? Are there more Black single Moms than years before? Drug use, homelessness, child abuse? Didn’t Hillary Clinton refer to Black men as “Super Predators?” After this stereotype was repeated over and over is it realistic to ask why Jesse Jackson said he felt “relief” when he looked to see it wasn’t a Black man following him!!

    This is what happens when government, for all intent and purposes, turned its proverbial back on a segment of American society.

    According to Steven Dubner and Steven Levitt (Freakonomics)the reason why murder rates are LOW because unwanted children are not being born through the HIGH rates of abortion. Three(3) percent of the population gets nearly forty(40) percent of the abortions. Get who that is?

    I understand that abortion happens and it should be safe and legal but I don’t think this is how we should answer social justice with killing our young before they ever get a chance. We were told by Planned Parenthood that birth control would solve all our problems! What happened?

    Too bad that Hope and Change came in the form of murder and selling baby parts! Isn’t this slavery all over again? Even worse! Dr. Gosnell is now doing time for murdering a young Black Mom in his offcie with blood all over the clinic walls from other procedures. What is the matter with us? I’m not against abortion but is this the answer? Why doesn’t Kaepernick take a knee for that?

    What all of us forget was that these crime stats started to go down when the FBI changed how it counted and defined crime. Burglary was once a violent crime, for starters.

    For those of us from LASD and LAPD how many times was it reported to “pat” the crimes stats in order to make Baca or Beck look good? And this happened all over the US. Even the LAT accurately reported (I know what a change for the LAT) how Deps were intimidated to change the rates of crime.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight but this is one of my areas of expertise and stats lie. Just ask any politician who never had a job in the last thirty(30) years!

  • 3 Strikes didn’t reduce crime, who are these leftist morons trying to kid? The wholesale release of prisoners now and the keep a con out of jail at any cost now isn’t driving crime up is making us left safe isn’t in fact true? I want the country to divide left and right, I hope for it every day.

  • Questions, you claim abortion is your area of expertise, which is kind of weird. Then you talk about selling baby parts, which has been thoroughly debunked. Not much of an expert, it appears. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Pick your poison accordingly.

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