For the past 20 years, the rate of both violent and nonviolent crime has been declining incredibly. And the decline has not stopped. As I've mentioned before, the cause of this is obscure--broken windows policing, Roe v. Wade, decreases in childhood lead exposure, increases in obesity...who knows? But the facts are incontrovertible.
So why do so many people think crime has not only not dropped, but has actually risen? According the the Gallup poll at the link
Currently, 68% say there is more crime in the U.S. than there was a year ago, 17% say less, and 8% volunteer that crime is unchanged.
It's really surprising that democracy works as well as it does. The Gallup poll also says that 38% say there is an area within a mile of their home where they feel unsafe walking at night. I had no idea there were that many people who walk anywhere, much less at night.
Was no one alive in the 70s and 80s? Don't any of them notice the difference, particularly in property crime, like stolen cars and break-ins? I sure do.
So, what about that belief is comforting to people? Do they use it to explain to themselves why they so seldom leave their house except to go to work or the mall? Or is it just bad sampling from watching local news, which fronts every violent or perverse act that took place on the continent that day and makes it seem like they are happening in your own village?
I don't know. But if they're wrong on something that really does enter into their day-to-day lives, they're probably more wrong about everything else.