By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Crime is a growing concern for Americans as the new year begins, according to newly released polling data.
Gallup released the poll that shows that 72% of surveyed Americans predict crime rates will increase, not decrease, this year.
That figure comes after an earlier poll showed a record-high 56% of Americans said crime is higher where they live than it was a year ago.
“The 56% of U.S. adults who report an increase in crime where they live marks a five-percentage-point uptick since last year and is the highest by two points in Gallup’s trend dating back to 1972,” the group reported in October. “Public perceptions of an increase in crime at the national level have also edged up since last year, as 78% say there is now more crime in the U.S. This is tied with the 2020 measure. The record high was 89% in 1992, when crime rates soared in the U.S.”
Notably, FBI crime data this year was incomplete since several major police departments failed to report their numbers. Anecdotally, though, several major cities have seen violent crime soar. Overall, violent crime has seen an increase since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020 and the ensuing riots and defund the police movement.
The homicide rate, in particular, has soared, rising about 30% in 2020 alone.
Crime concerns played a significant role in the midterm elections. Pew research polling released in late October showed that “six-in-ten registered voters (61%) say violent crime is very important when making their decision about who to vote for in this year’s congressional elections.”
Notably, Gallup reported in November that 55% of surveyed Americans support the death penalty for murderers.
“Regardless of crime’s eventual impact on voting, we have clearly seen some significant upticks over the past year or so in the public’s concerns about crime. Personal worry about crime increased to its highest level since 2016 in Gallup polling earlier this year,” Gallup’s Frank Newport said. “Americans’ satisfaction with the nation’s policies to reduce or control crime was lower than satisfaction with almost any other issue in a list included in Gallup polling conducted in January of this year.”
Concern varies by political affiliation.
“Worry about crime is currently also higher among Republicans than among Democrats. The perceived importance of crime as an election issue is much higher among Republicans than among Democrats,” Mr. Newport said. “Relatively few Americans of any political persuasion mention crime as the nation’s top problem, but such mentions are nonetheless more frequent among Republicans than among Democrats.”