Crime is always up

So, interestingly Americans pretty much always believe that crime is going up.  Of course, in reality we know that crime has mostly been trending downward for about two decades.  The good news, according to the latest Gallup report, is that at least fewer Americans are wrong about this.

Perceptions of Crime in the U.S., 1989-2014

Next time somebody says something like “a majority of American’s can’t be wrong,” you might want to point out something like this.  Anyway, I especially like this graph that puts into context of the actual crime rate:

U.S. Violent Crime Rate vs. Americans' Perception of Crime Rate vs. Year Ago

The American public– can’t trust ’em.  Of course, there is an interesting research question in here as to why the American public continues to be so consistently wrong on this issue (my strong suspicion is that the nature of news reporting has a lot to do with it).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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