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Study Shows Decline in Violent Crime, USA Today, July 19, 1999, The Nation, p. 9A

Field, G. “Study Shows Decline in Violent Crime”,
USA Today, July 19, 1999, The Nation, p. 9A

WASHINGTON- The nation’s violent crime rates fell
7% in 1998, bringing both violent and property crime rates to their lowest
levels since the Justice Department began keeping the statistics in 1973.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey,
U.S. residents age 12 or older were the victims of 31 million violent and
property crimes in 1998. That total is an 11.4% drop from 35 million crimes
in 1997.

Since 1993, the violent crime rate has dropped 26%
- from a rate of 50 per 1,000 people age 12 or older to 37 per 1,000 in
1998. Last year’s violent crime rate was 51% lower than the 1997 violent
crime rate of 39 per 1,000.

Overall property crime rates fell 12.5% from 248 to
217 incidents per 1,000 households from 1997 to 1998.

The survey, conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics,
asked 80,000 people whether they had been victims of crime.

The findings of the survey mirror FBI crime statistics
that crime has been on the decline in the United States for the past seven

Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Violence
at Boston’s Northeastern University, says the survey findings are continuing
evidence that “we’re talking about a long-term trend and not just a short-term
blip on the radar screen of crime.”

Although virtually every demographic category of the
survey showed a decline in 1998, the victimization survey continued to
show that minorities and the poor are not as safe as whites and the wealthy.

For households with annual income of $7,500 or less,
the rate was 63.8 per 1,000 people. The next highest rate was 22.7% lower
at 49.3 per 1,000 for households earning $7,500 to $14,999 annually.

Michael Rustigan, a criminology professor at San Franciso
State University, says he is not surprised the survey confirms that there
is still an economic disparity in terms of who becomes the victim of crime.

“Wherever you have pockets of young people out of
work, idle and with no stake in society and nothing to lose, you’re going
to find crime,” Rustigan says. “And certainly we know there are pockets
of unemployment and pockets of hopelessness in America, despite booming
economy. Not everybody feels life is giving them a good shake.”



of Justice Statistics: Crime and Victims Statistics