Crime --UPDATE--

I just read this in the Los Angeles Times from California, USA:

"Violent crime in the United States fell 5.5% last year, and property crime fell 4.9%, the FBI reported on Monday.

The federal statistics, compiled from 13,237 law enforcement agencies, show that violent crime fell for a third consecutive year, and property crime was down for the seventh year. The federal numbers are considered preliminary and will updated depending on what local agencies report.

The federal analysis shows that all four categories of violent crime -- robbery, murder, aggravated assault and forcible rape – were down from 2008. All four regions of the country showed a decline, with the South leading the way with a 6.6% fall, followed by 5.6% in the West, 4.6% in the Midwest and 3.5% in the Northeast.

Big cities, those with a population of 500,000 to 999,999, had the largest decrease in violent crime – 7.5%. Non-metropolitan counties had the smallest decrease, 3%.

Murders, the violent crime that generally gets the most attention from the media, were down 7.2%. Cities with a population of 25,000 to 49,999 were the only urban category to have an increase in murders, 5.3%. Non-metropolitan counties also had an increase, 1.8%.

Robbery dropped 8.1%, aggravated assault dropped 4.2%, and forcible rape was down 3.1%.

On the property side, the nation's biggest cities, those with a populations of at least 1-million people, reported the greatest decrease, 7.9%. Non-metropolitan counties were the only group to report an increase in property crime: 0.5%."

Say what now?

What I find most interesting is that in the defiant face of these reported science-numbers--trends that continue despite the desperation of recession and the federal government's post-2001 focus on foreign threats*--is that there is still a very deeply rooted belief by a lot of people that the crime around us is growing. People are all hyped-up and acting so frightened by supposed boogie men around every corner. They watch the TeeVee news and the YouTubes and panic at the disco.

Kids can't go play outside without supervision by people who have had a background check, people lock their car doors by habit when pumping gas, people buy home alarm systems like nobody's business, open carry laws go unchallenged, and still if I say to somebody, [nerd guy voice] "Well, crime rates actually continue to fall to near-historic lows" people look at me like I'm asking them to have my alien baby...on the! I'm the crazy guy because I live safely and comfortably according to statistics and probability. What, science-numbers?! How can you believe numbers?

People have completely physically and metaphorically sealed themselves into protective cocoon-like bubblewrap fortresses of solitude and paranoia. Blame is spread like the swine flu was supposed to spread; Muslims, no, immigrants, no, liberals, no, socialists, no, blacks, no, congress, no, conservatives, no, oil, no, the Salahis, no, skinheads, no, TeeVee, no, lacrosse players are to blame. It's their fault we're scared cautious. We're just protecting the children! For America.

I thought Americans were supposed to be so John-Wayne-Chevy tough. What if Paul Revere just said "fuck it" and ran the other way? What if...

Perhaps, then, all of our precautions paid off, right? Maybe one could argue that our blame and hiding system has created a safer America. Of course, our prisons are brimming with the convicted. So maybe we've locked-up all the bad guys. Blame and hide criminal penal complex works!

B-b-b-but we're running out of money to lock people up and to pay for police and *gasp* "social(ist) services" and look at Greece and the foreigners and the immigrants and the blacks and the skinheads and the Tea Baggers and the liberals and the...uh, if you vote for me I'll be tough on crime and lock up the bad guys. I will close the borders. Hope. Change. America! God bless it all.

Whatever the case, crime is down and I told you so. I can't tell you what happens next. I ain't Kreskin.

* WashPost: "The national violent crime rate had risen in 2005 and 2006 after years of decline, sparking concerns that a focus on homeland security under the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was draining resources away from traditional crime fighting."

But what is Fox News sayin'?


Hey lookie what's cookin' one block over.