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Important crime facts to remember

The Justice Department and White House have recently begun announcing plans to combat crime. For this reason, California residents may want to be aware of some facts regarding crime in the United States.

According to two commonly cited measurements, the rate for violent crime in the country has dropped dramatically over the last 25 years. One of the measurements is an annual report from the FBI that compiles details about the serious crimes that are reported to police in almost 18,000 jurisdictions in the country. The other measurement is an annual survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that asks over 90,000 households if they were crime victims.

There has also been a decline in property crime over the long term. Based on data from the FBI, the property crime rate dropped 48 percent between 1993 and 2015. The BJS reports a property crime decrease of 69 during the same period.

It is not uncommon for the public perceptions of crime to be at odds with crime data. The responses to 21 Gallup polls since 1989 indicate that most Americans believe that the crime rate grows each year, despite the actual decline that occurs.

The fact that crime rates tend to vary when compared state to state or city to city is also important to remember. Rates can be affected by an area's economic conditions and population density. Also, many crimes are underreported. According to the BJS annual survey in 2015, only 47 percent of violent crime that was tracked by the BJS was reported to law enforcement.

A criminal law attorney may work to protect the rights of individuals accused of violent crimes, such as murder, manslaughter or assault. The lawyer could investigate unique factors surrounding the case and may advise the client of their legal options.

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