The incidence of crime in the U.S. has fallen by approximately 50% in the last 25 years. But there were still over one million violent crime and seven million property crime in 2018 across the country. That means about 1 in 40 of every American is affected by the commission of a crime each year.
So, it is hardly surprising then that for the most part, American do not feel safer. In polls those surveyed consistently respond that they think crime is getting worse and list it as one of the most important issues facing the country.
The knee jerk reaction has always been to “get tough on crime.” As a result, we have poured resources into law enforcement and incarcerated a larger percentage of our population than any other country on earth. But there is a growing body of evidence that the indiscriminate increase in sanctions is no longer moving the needle and has many unintended and adverse impacts. If we are going to build on the progress we have made on reducing crime in that last half century, we must develop more thoughtful, innovative data-based approaches.