Criminal Justice Update: Five Facts About Crime in the U.S.
Pew Research reports on the latest data on crime—here’s what we learned.
Locking our car doors. Avoiding isolated areas after dark. Keeping our purse strap across our body or our wallet in our front pocket. We all take steps to avoid becoming a victim of crime. But there’s a difference between being wary of crime and truly understanding crime in America.
If you want a better understanding of crime, you can start with new data from the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) gathered by the Pew Research Center. In a January 2019 article on crime in America, the research center provides the following five facts.1
Americans Overestimate the Crime Rate
Many Americans believe there is more crime in the U.S. than there actually is. Even in years when crime declines nationally, it’s common for a majority of Americans to say they think crime is on the rise.
Violent Crime Is Down
According to multiple sources of data, the United States experienced much less violent crime than a few decades ago. In fact, BJS data shows violent crime is down by 74% since 1993.
Property Crime Is Down
Property crime has fallen almost as precipitously as violent crime, with national rates declining by 69% since 1993.
But Crime Is Local
Not all geographic regions have the same levels of crime. Data from the FBI shows states like Alaska, New Mexico, and Tennessee experience violent crime at a much higher rate than do Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Individual cities can also have significantly different crime rates, making some places in the United States much safer than others.
And Most Crimes Go Unreported or Unsolved
The BJS reports that 45% of violent crimes and 36% of property crimes go unreported to police. Among the crimes that are reported, only 46% of violent crimes are ever solved and as few as 18% of property crimes are solved.
What Can You Do to Help Address Crime?
Many entry level criminal justice jobs don’t require a master’s degree, but if you want to become an influential criminal justice professional, you’ll likely need an advanced criminal justice degree. And one of the most beneficial degrees to earn is an MS in Criminal Justice.
A master’s in criminal justice can help you gain the knowledge you’ll need to make a real difference in criminology, in a law enforcement job, or in any other career involving criminal justice. Where criminal justice/criminology students at the bachelor’s level learn the basics of the criminal justice system, a master’s in criminal justice program goes a lot further, even allowing you to specialize in areas such as behavioral sciences, cybercrimes, emergency management, homeland security policy and coordination, law and public policy, and other topics that can help prepare you for a successful criminal justice career.
Or, if you’re interested in managing change in public organizations and specializing in Public Management and Leadership, Walden University offers this degree in a competency-based learning format. The competency-based format allows students to progress at their own pace and be measured by a variety of assessments, versus the standard course-based learning format.
Of course, not every university has a criminal justice program. If you don’t live near a school where you can earn an MS in Criminal Justice—or if you work full time and don’t want to reduce your hours to make a campus based graduate school work—you can turn to online education. Through an online criminal justice degree program, you can live anywhere, so long as you have internet access. And you’ll have a good deal of control over your schedule since the online learning format allows you to attend class at whatever time of day works best for you.
Although the crime rate in United States continues to decline, we still need those who choose careers in criminal justice. Thanks to online education, you can earn the degree you need to prepare you to succeed in such a career.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Criminal Justice degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.