As city crime is again dominating headlines, it’s worth looking at violent crime data over time.
The number of people who have survived shootings in Rochester in 2012 – 95 – is nearly double the number of people who were shot this time last year. At 21 homicides, we are also ahead of last year’s pace.
But historically speaking, we are not in the city’s most violent era. Nor are we in the safest. Late last year, I blogged at 13WHAM News about FBI crime data:
The years 1991, 1993 and 1994 all saw more than 60 homicides.
Overall, the data shows violent crime ebbing and flowing the past three decades. From 1985 to 1995, we had more than 1,000 violent crimes per 100,000 residents every year except one. The following 10 years saw violent crime drop, with the period between 1999 and 2002 being the least violent since 1985.
Homicides crept up again in 2003, prompting the New York Times to write about our per capita murder rate. The year 2006 had the worst violent crime rate since 1985, including homicides, rapes, robberies and assaults. That year we had 49 homicides.
This is a a look at the violent crime rate from 1985 to 2011.
The data shows violent crime is not the worst it’s ever been. However, when the police chief says Rochester is the safest it’s been in decades, that’s not entirely true. He points to sheer numbers, not the crime rate. The safest era in the city over the last 25 years was the early 2000s.
On a somewhat related note, I found this blog post by Empire State Future about the dangers of living in the city versus the suburbs. The risk of dying in a traffic accident is greater in rural and suburban areas.