Myths and Realities: Understanding Recent Trends in Violent Crime

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The recent rise in crime is extraordinarily complex. Policymakers and the public should not jump to conclusions or expect easy answers.

After years of decline, crime rose during the Covid-19 pandemic, partic­u­larly viol­ent crime. Using avail­able but incom­plete data, this analysis seeks to set out a clear and accur­ate summary of what is known so far about recent trends in crime and viol­ence.

While research­ers have begun to identify some of the factors that may have contrib­uted to this upward trend, it is far too soon to say with certainty why crime rose over the last two years. This uncer­tainty itself should guide our under­stand­ing of crime trends today. It under­scores the danger of jump­ing to conclu­sions — such as blam­ing specific, often newly imple­men­ted, policies. Lastly, the analysis points to prom­ising new solu­tions that may address some of the factors behind recent crime trends.

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