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August 3rd, 2009
09:50 AM ET

Police: Crime rates down despite bad economy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Chief John Timoney of the Miami Police Department (L) and Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia Police Department (R)."]

Crime rates are falling in big cities across America, even though unemployment is high and it’s summer – two factors that historically are a prescription for trouble. So what's going on?

Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia Police Department and Chief John Timoney of the Miami Police Department spoke to Alina Cho on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.

Alina Cho: Chief Timoney, I want to start with you. As I just said, we're dealing with a bad economy, the dog days of summer, usually a recipe for higher crime. But crime rates are actually falling in major cities across America. What exactly is going on in your estimation?

Chief John Timoney: Well I think it's a myth the whole notion there's a direct correlation between a bad economy and crime. All you have to do is really look at the Great Depression. Crime rates did not skyrocket. Similarly, here over the last year and a half – and we've monitored [it] pretty closely – the assumption is crime is down. So some guy that’s a truck driver one day, loses his job, goes out and commits robberies and burglaries the next day is simply not true. Over the last year and a half at our CompStat crime meetings, we're looking at the people that were arrested for these crimes and it’s the same people. It’s the frequent flyers, guys with 15, 25 prior arrests. If the economy had a direct impact we'd be arresting people for the first time and that's simply not happening.

Cho: Commissioner Ramsey, I want to get to you. You currently head the Philadelphia Police Department but most of our viewers know you best for heading the D.C. sniper investigation in 2002. I certainly remember that quite well. Homicide is down in Philadelphia 11%. That's astounding. What do you think is happening? What is your department doing differently?

Commissioner Ramsey: Well we're actually 25% down over the last year and a half, when I first took office in January of '08. So we've been making good progress. Our clearance rate is up near 80%. That is one of the factors. Our homicide investigators have been clearing cases a lot faster and getting the right people off the job. And plus, we’ve put in place some strategies so that if there's a violent act that takes place, we look toward retaliation or the possibility of retaliation and we can deploy more real-time than we were before using technology and keeping track of what's going on to get people in the right spots at the right time.

Cho: You mentioned technology. A lot of police work has gone high-tech, officers using mobile phones and the like. That's helped a tremendous amount, has it not?

Ramsey: Well it has helped but it still gets down to good basic police work, I think. In Philadelphia, for example, we're actually a bit behind in technology. A lot of big cities are because it's so expensive to get some of these systems. But if you use what you have, use it wisely, and make good critical decisions early on, you can avoid some of the problems.

Cho: Chief Timoney, I want to move onto the Henry Louis Gates case, the Harvard professor arrested in his home on July 16. You wrote an op-ed in The Miami Herald, saying it's a shame that people on all sides have reacted so quickly and that the case may have been triggered by misconceptions. Explain that.

Timoney: People right away, and it seemed like everybody, jumped to conclusions, read into the situation things that weren't there. For example, that the officer went there strictly as a result of a racial description when, in fact, the 911 caller never described race. There were other things that people latched onto. Some of them having to do with stereotypes, some of them have to do with preconceived notions. A whole host of things. The bottom line is in situations like that they become highly volatile. They break down, unfortunately, sometimes along racial lines. And you see, even on television, people who are colleagues and friends breaking down along racial lines. It seems when you look at the facts, the dispassionate, cold-hearted facts, you can still find fault on either side. But it's not as bad or as inflammatory as initially it was charged in the early days once the arrest surfaced.

Cho: Commissioner Ramsey, let me ask you this. Yes, that is all true. Some people have suggested that as unfortunate as this was that really it has opened up a larger discussion on race and is that such a bad thing. I'm curious to know if you have done anything differently, planning to do anything differently in terms of race relations inside your department?

Ramsey: Well it does open up a larger discussion, which I do think is a good thing. But I think everyone needs to take a deep breath when these things take place. I agree with John that we're too quick to jump to conclusions. I've heard the term racism thrown around more in the past week or two than I have since the 1960s or '70s. So that’s a very dangerous thing. And I think that people need to really stop and take a look. I think you've got two people, both of whom if they had it to do over again might have done one or two things slightly differently. But it wasn't a racist act. It wasn't anything that had to do with anything like that. It's just unfortunate where you had a police officer and a citizen that didn't see eye to eye on an issue, things got out of hand and we wind up talking about it here on your program.

Filed under: Crime
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. SierraMan

    History and your liberal ilk continuously fail to put the blame on the right source...the individual actions of the 'poor downtrodden' that you speak of. You always put the emphasis on controlling the decent law-abiding citizens of this country without ever placing the culpability where it belongs....the lowlife criminal scum that have no respect for anyone including liberals. Instead you wish to coddle them as poor victims of a harsh society. Here's a newsflash that never makes the liberal headlines....WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS, PERIOD!!! No liberal excuses about the mean Republicans, a racist society, etc. You and only you are in control of your own actions.

    Decent law abiding citizens in this country have ALWAYS had the right to keep and bear arms, and violent crime was never truly a problem until after the 60s liberal revolution, when all of a sudden the fault of every criminal's actions became society's, instead of the individual's.

    So don't try to take away our means for protecting ourselves on account of a societal illness that your liberal establishment created in the first place.

    August 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  2. MikeInOrlando

    To the chief of police in Miami...what have you been smoking??? I have friends in Miami and they say it is worse than ever there. It's so bad there that on Animal Planet, Miami has its on Animal Police series that has been on TV for the past few years. Don't for get the dead shark left in the middle of the intersection a week or so ago. Something to be real proud of huh? Yeah right...crime is down there. LOL bozos!

    August 3, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  3. history repeats

    i find it funny that people look at the founding fathers like GODS. like everything they wrote has to stay that way FOREVER. i mean dont u think they would have written the 2nd amendmant a little differently if their was an active police force in every city, a standing army and ak-47's existed? dont you think they would have looked at the rest of the world and seen the obvious? that less guns equals less violence??? of course they would have. if a liberal is defined as somebody open to change and tolerance then the founding fathers were truly liberal.

    August 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  4. shorn

    "Studies have shown over and over again that a gun in the home is more likely to be used against a family member than an intruder," says Juliet Leftwich, senior counsel for Legal Community Against Violence in San Francisco.

    If they take away guns, only criminals will ... accidentally shoot their children.

    August 3, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  5. Feezy Daniels

    With respect to gun ownership rates, there is little correlation internationally between rates of lawful gun ownership and crime (with apologies to both the left and the right.)

    Israel, in which virtually everyone is armed, has violent crime rates (excluding terror attacks, of course) that are on par with those of Canada. In Switzerland, where most adult males have (real) assault rifles in their homes and the shooting sports are well-attended, violent crime rates are lower than in neighboring Germany where it is very difficult for a private citizen to obtain a firearm.

    In countries like Russia, Mexico, and Jamaica private citizens are not permitted to own guns, yet these countries have murder rates that vastly exceed those of the United States.

    Of course you can also point to places like England and Japan, which have both highly restrictive gun policies and low rates of murder (but not, at least in the case of England, low rates of violent crime generally.)

    When you look specifically at the United States, however, the results are quite clear–more lawfully armed citizens correlates to lower rates of violent crime. The studies that prove the point are serious, peer-reviewed, and quite unambiguous.

    The reason for this correlation in the US is quite clear. Unlike most European and 3rd-world nations, US citizens are allowed to keep their firearms both accessible and operational. That is why in England, nearly 70 percent of home break-ins are "hot", meaning that they are actually home-invasions that occur when a resident is present. In the US, however, fewer than 10 per cent of break-ins occur when the occupant is at home.

    We don't have to guess why criminals don't break into homes in the US when people are present. Convicted felons quite freely tell researchers that they are afraid of being shot. In fact, they are significantly more afraid of encountering an armed home owner than they are of encountering the police.

    Those of you who would never think of having a gun in your home still benefit from what criminologists call the "halo effect". A criminal can never reliably know if you are armed in your home or not–so rather than attempt to rob, rape, or assault you, he will likely wait for an occasion that presents him with less danger. Again, you can chose to disbelieve this fact–but criminals themselves will happily report that it is true.

    Which brings us to the issue of the carrying of concealed handguns. Intuitively, it seems to make sense that criminals would be reluctant to rob, rape, or assault someone who might shoot them. Once again, the bad guys report this fact to be true. But we don't have to rely on the bad guys for this information. There is a good body of scholarly work which quite definitively proves that the introduction of liberal concealed carry laws results in less violent crime against individuals. Again, you may loath guns, and you may hate this particular fact–but it is widely acknowledged to be true. Even the nut jobs at the Brady Campaign to Ban Handguns have to admit that concealed carry laws (at least) do not increase violent crime.

    So there you have it. Internationally, the rate of civilian armament does not seem to matter much (since few places allow operative and accessible firearms.) In the US, however, more lawfully owned guns clearly reduce violent crime. Remember, nobody says that YOU have to own one. But be thankful that your neighbor does...

    August 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  6. shorn

    I wonder if this includes all the people who killed their families and themselves – with guns – in the last year. Did you know there are about 1,500 murder suicides each year and the rate seems to be climbing with the failed economy?

    Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people.

    July 8 (Bloomberg) - Murders and suicides spike with unemployment, U.S. and European researchers said.

    The scientists, who combed through almost four decades of European Union records, found that a 1 percent increase in joblessness brings about a 0.8 percent rise in suicide and murder rates. Government programs to help workers offer some protection, they wrote in the July 8 issue of The Lancet.

    Maybe fewer people are breaking into homes or stealing car stereos, but you can't tell me people are grabbing guns and killing themselves and others.

    August 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  7. scott

    Crime rates going down is actually a bad thing, as it really means they are catching less of what is happening.
    Easy formula, think of a pie. the whole pie is all crime being commited right now, simply because you cannot stop all crime. Never have been able to, never will. Simple unfortunate fact.
    the slice that represents the "crime rate", lets say 1/3 third is the crime that the police and other agencies are catching. if that slice gets smaller... it's actually bad as they are simply not catching as much.
    Sounds bad, but when that slice gets bigger, our guys are doing a better job.
    And I bet if you ask around any city, the responses you get to the crime rate being down will not reflect the rosy picture painted here.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  8. Dr. Steve

    The reason is simple: there has been a tremendous decrease in illegal aliens entering the country. In fact, many are leaving. The one thing that has been linked more strongly than anything else to high crime is a culture of tolerance to crime. Rudy Guliani proved this in New York by prosecuting people for petty crimes and saw a big reduction in more serious crimes. While we are not prosecuting illegal aliens, their departure is likely having a similar effect.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  9. Jon

    To Mark:

    You said that if everyone had drugs there would be no drug dealers – thats correct. If you could go to Walgreens or CVS and get your fix, why would you risk getting ripped off or shot by the guy on the corner?

    To Kevin:
    What about Switzerland? It is law for military aged men to own a firearm, murder rate is only 1.2 per 100,000 – and most of those are from non-swiss immigrants/tourists.
    About my math, I'm a Profesional Engineer – I would venture a guess that I know more about math (and Physics and Chemistry) than most.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  10. Austin

    Interesting. I wonder if all the gun nuts who said they needed to go out and buy en masse because of the economic situation are reading this.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  11. TONY


    August 3, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  12. Jay C

    The number of homicides may be down in some of these cities, but other violent crimes like home invasions, carjackings, smash and grab robberies are on the rise. You may not have as many people dying from the crime, but the number of people being traumatized is definitely on the rise. Here in Atlanta, criminals are carjacking, robbing vacant homes, robbing occupied homes during broad daylight and breaking into businesses at alarming rates. Some businesses have been broken into so many times that they had to close down because they could get insurance. The criminals know the chances of them getting caught committing these crimes are slim to none. Just because someone doesn't die does not mean the crime rate is reducing.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  13. Jim

    5 seasons of 'The Wire' have made me a little cynical about crime number reportings.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  14. Dave

    Crime is down because something is boiling under the surface. It's like the quiet before the storm. Americans are waking up!

    August 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  15. Kevin

    There is no link between the availability of guns and a decline in crime – if that were the case Germany and Austria would be the most crime ridden nations on earth. And yet in these European states where gun ownership is rare and difficult they have almost no violent crime. In fact the murder rate in Germany is about 1/20th of that in the United States – so actually if you can do math (I'm not expecting much) the rate of firearm ownership would seem to be positively correlated to a nation's murder rate. The Freakonomics guys actually have a much better explanation to the drop in US crime rates since the 1980s (legalized abortion). Just cause you don't like an answer doesn't make it false...

    August 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  16. Tony

    Hello Veritas - Get your facts straight, please. You say that Canada has no concealed carry law. Well guess again. Canada does in fact issue gun permits and concealed carry permits to their citizens through due process. It may entail more "red tape" but their citizens do enjoy similar freedoms to the USA. Note that FBI statistics have proven that as states allow or broaden concealed carry and less control on guns for law abiding citizens, the violent crime rate goes down. These are not NRA stats, these are FBI stats. You may want to do more research on this since the facts are very eye-opening.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  17. Dan from Texas

    The worst violent crimes, murder and rape are down slightly in Austin; however, assaults and burglaries are up. I think burglaries of vehicles are increasing due to the economy and that vehicles are the easiest targets and homes are more likely to be occupied by gun carrying owners in Texas. The number of assaults is still disturbing and could be gang related and Austin is currently investigating several cases where people have been sucker-punched by strangers for no reason. It's suspected to possibly be a gang initiation ritual.

    August 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  18. Rhnea

    I live near Detroit, crime is up believe me.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  19. Mark

    To Jason:
    That might possibly be the stupidest thing that I have ever heard. That's like saying if everyone had drugs, we could get rid of all of the drugdealers.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  20. history repeats

    sorry for my spelling before. i am aware that steel is steal!!! lol long night and day!!! im a liberal that WORKS!!! another stereotype BROKEN! lol

    August 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  21. history repeats


    GREAT POST. its nice to see someone else with COMMON SENSE on these boards. it is AMAZING how many people lack COMMON sense! people will try to find your post to see what i mean by common sense and if it matches their view. if it doesnt than it OBVIOUSLY isnt common sense. lol....its not funny though is it?

    August 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  22. andrew

    AK-47 crimes is up. That is a fact.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  23. John

    These two knuckleheads are trying to shine a dog turd and hope it reflects enough light to blind everyone to the truth. Murder might be down, but that is only one barometer. Property crimes are way up just about everywhere; domestic violence incidents are on the rise. There are a whole host of societal ills that are being ignored here. With budget cuts forcing departments to scale back on officers and equipment, it will only get worse.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  24. shawn

    I work for a big city crime is not down, its just the way it is reported.
    a stolen auto found ouside of the city its reported in is now a property
    found, not a gtmv/rec.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  25. history repeats


    more guns less crime? thats what you really think? do you believe criminals are keeping up on gun policy? do you think they see on the news that more people have guns so they decide not to steel? there is no rise in people being shot so how would the criminals be stopped by lighter gun laws. whats possible is that YOU PEOPLE ARE WRONG!!! maybe we dont need to be treated like children anymore.....everybody assumes under these conditions people will start killing eachother....but maybe not!! maybe people dont NEED the bible to understand right from wrong!!! maybe people, naturally, do NOT what to hurt eachother and steel from eachother. MAYBE it is a profit driven society that drives crime into your homes. maybe its unfair advantages and the continous downslide we treat our impoverished can tell ALOT about a country by the way they treat their less fortunate. the definition of a liberal is somebody that is open to new ideas and change and the definition of a conservative is INTOLERANCE and not willing to change!!! where does it sound like the problem is? especially since evolution has pretty much been proven time and time again to advance species and a requirement for evolution is CHANGE!!!!!!!

    August 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  26. adle1984

    Abortion = lower crime rates. Scientific correlation with data provided. Read Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  27. Jon

    Gun Control laws have been relaxed over the past few years (Assault weapons, etc.). The criminals don't want to get shot by one of the people they are supposed to be attacking. Its simple: more guns in law abiding citizen's hands = less crime.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  28. Motorman

    To the person who stated that the Second Amendment only applies to militias and police–

    1) Police forces did not exist when the Constitution was written.
    2) Militias were made up of all able bodied citizens of the state.
    3) Even today, the word militia refers to all able bodied citizens of the state.
    4) European countries do allow for their citizens to own guns. In Switzerland, it's the law.

    The Second Amendment discusses the militia. It does not mention police or military.

    The Second Amendment clearly says: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    This indicates that the authors clearly wanted to ensure that "the people" and "every able bodied citizen" was armed in order to maintain order and/or repel attacks by those hostile to the state. This includes going after criminals. At the time of the Constitution, there were no police forces–just the citizens who would respond in times of danger.

    Knowing the authors of the Constitution, the Second Amendment was also clearly written to protect us from a state where only the police and the military are allowed to have weapons–a state such as Nazi Germany; Stalin's Russia; and other dictatorships.

    One of the first things that Hitler did was to disarm the general population...

    August 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  29. Ted

    To Veritas:

    I guess the next time you are being mugged you will use your whistle to summon for help while the rest of us law abiding citizens who can actually read the second amendment will use force to protect ourselves, our family and our property; or you can just call for help and wait 5 minutes for the police to arrive, that is unless they have beaten you senseless by then. Ooops too late.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  30. The Chemist

    The abortion/crime correlations discussed in Freakonomics are certainly very interesting and appear to have a lot of merit. I would be interested to see the abortion trends in the 5 or so year period 17 or 18 years before the current drop in those areas. To my knowledge there was no change in policy in the two cities at that time, but there well may have been an up tick in the availability of providers.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  31. James

    Jessica, Yes she did lay off cops. Also cut spending on prisons. She also cut pay to public schools and kept paying the same money to private schools. Schools all over the state are closing because of her "budgeting". She won't help the small buisness with tax breaks. The federal government keeps raising minimum wage and only hurting jobs because of pay raises. You are right though, nobody is coming up with any ideas to help. They all are pointing the finger at each other.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  32. Philip

    Regarding the Great Depression, there are probably too many variables to come to any clear conclusion, but it seems likely that (1) FDR's relief programs as well as (2) the repeal of Prohibition did a great deal to aleviate any longer-run increase in crime that could have been caused by the decade-long economic spiral.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  33. Bob

    To all of the gun nuts, what you are saying is, the only people who deserve to be protected against crime are those able and willing to carry a gun. Those of us who can't, don't have the means, or don't want to, deserve to suffer from crime?

    If you advocate gun ownership as a means to curb crime, then you are saying those that don't own guns deserve to be victims.

    More reasons why crime may be down:

    The middle-class doesn't have the money to spend on recreational drug use. Drug sales are down, and thus drug motivated crimes in the US are down.

    There is a drug war in Mexico at the moment. This is hurting supply lines to the US, and tying up the resources (monies and guns) that would be used in domestic crimes.

    Point is, no one can clearly tell why crime is down in the cities in which it is down (or why it is up in cities such as my own).

    August 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  34. andrew

    Could it be Obama's role model affecting on youngsters already? The youngsters are going to different path to follow Obama. Thus, the crime rate go down?

    August 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  35. crim

    I'm in total agreement with Elisabeth about this comment by John – "Crime is down because all the illegal aliens are going back to Mexico because there are no jobs."

    That is completely ridiculous and I say this as a Criminology PhD – good luck finding one piece of scholarly research citing "illegal aliens" as the cause for crime in the US. To John and Tom – Get your facts straight before posting such denigrating statements.

    You may find these books enlightening:
    "Crime and the American Dream" – Messner and Rosenfeld
    "The Crime Drop in America" – Blumstein and Wallman
    "Illusion of Order" – Harcourt

    btw- "Mikeinorlando" – your posts are hilarious (I lived many years in Orlando)

    August 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  36. My Van Nguyen

    I agree with Chief Timoney that a professional truck driver who has lost a job one day is not going to turn into a professional car thief the next day.
    However, people who become poor as a result of losing a job will have a good chance of getting entangled with policemen as a result of personal and emotional distresses. As a result, police will be dispatched out not so much for hard crimes, but for domestic violence, drunkedness, public disturbances, etc.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  37. mike

    Maybe crime is up here in Indiana because every one has had to pawn their guns to buy food for their kids.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  38. Mark

    Maybe the powers that be might just be letting silly non-violent "crimes" like posession of marijuana go a bit more.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  39. Philip

    Carl makes a great point. Timoney is (intentionally?) confusing individual effects with macro behavior. Short term fluctuations in the economy aren't what is correlated with crime. (Blue collar) crime is associated with systemic impoverishment and low social mobility. I'd like to see the relationship between economic cycles and White Collar crime. My guess is it's a positive correlation. As the economy booms, the Bernie Madoffs multiply.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  40. Chris

    Steven Riess (OSU) wrote a great book called "Who am I" listing the Sixteen major motivators of people. Two of which are Power and Idealism. Owning guns gives those motivated by power a feeling of satisfaction. Idealistic people believe guns kill people. Remember guns don't kill people, people kill people. Guns just make it easier.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  41. SierraMan

    Veritas..regarding your comments "The only people who have a legitimate reason for carrying weapons are police officers and soldiers. The rest of you need to find some other toy to amuse yourselves with."

    Ok, fine, but do me a favor first. Please kindly disarm all of the street thugs out there who also have no legitimate reason for carrying weapons. Once that task is complete and then I can be assured that no one will ever rob me or carjack me at gunpoint, then I'll be happy to give up my right to own a gun.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  42. Jessica

    James: The governor in OUR state is not firing cops – we have a gigantic budget shortfall thanks to the loss of revenue from lost jobs in terms of tax contribution.

    It's kind of hard to keep them all employed with monopoly money...eventually even the cops will get pissed that they are being floated IOU's instead of a real paycheck.

    So far the republicans have offered no real way to cut spending and bring the budget in line...sort of pathetic if you ask me, if they hope to capture the governors office in less than a year and half. NOW should be their shining moment where they save the day by offering a smart proposal to balance the budget without robbing us of vital services...

    so far all i hear is crickets! But thank goodness they'll never raise our taxes!!!!

    August 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  43. C-

    Please don't be swayed by high-profile murders or news reports. What notice on the news and what we remember from the news are not always accurate representations of how prevalent crime is.

    One or two highly publicized Atlanta car-jackings and murders don't mean that crime is worse in Atlanta.

    Rely on the year-to-year comparisons to reach your conclusions. And be sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Per-capita statistics are better than raw numbers.

    That said, it does seem like crime is way up in Atlanta. =(

    August 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  44. Joe

    Crime statistics are "down" only because of the changes in the way crimes are reported and tracked, period.

    People who live in the cities are not fooled one bit about these statistics. Watch how many incumbent police chiefs are booted in the next local elections!

    August 3, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  45. Jessica

    Interesting, i was just reading that locally crime has moved to the country/rural area's – and they are dressing like door-to-door salespeople and breaking into homes during the day...where it's harder for your neighbors to see your house, since in rural settings there's some distance between...and they are pulling up in Van's that look professional.

    Crime hasnt gone down overall – it's just getting more creative.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  46. Rick McDaniel

    Ya know, when I compare the evening news, to this kind of claim, I feel I am being grossly lied to.

    People are being shot in broad daylight, at gas stations, in stores, in their own homes, and in parking lots, and you would have us believe this tripe???

    Sorry, I wasn't born yesterday.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  47. ds

    Well I think it’s a myth the whole notion there’s a direct correlation between a bad economy and crime
    It's only based on evidence, not your opinion. Can't be right can it?

    August 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  48. Jessica

    Thank goodness all those crazy folks went out and bought up all the guns at the gun stores...

    see, in one breath they bash Obama...but here we can truly see how smart Obama is:

    HE KNEW the crazies would go do this, therefore he KNEW it would reduce crime THEREFORE HE KNEW money would be pumped into the economy from the crazy "give me my guns" folks...and therefore he knew a healthy economy equals less crime.

    He's a fricken genius.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  49. Tim

    The lower crime rates nationwide is a direct effect of more private citizens taking advantage of laws like CCDW that allows you to carry a gun for personal protection. It is a proven fact that crime decreases when the criminals are faced with possible retaliation from a would be victim. I applaud the states that has allowed private citizens to protect themselves if they so choose. Another word of caution..... The myth that keeping CCDW holders from carrying places like parks for one example will keep crime down is totally false. The criminals will flourish in places where they have no opposition.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  50. Tom

    It is hilarious that SOME police chiefs around the country attribute a drop in crime to their own efforts, when anyone with a brain knows it's because so many illegal aliens have returned to Mexico, and other countries of their origin.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  51. sumday

    Have they changed the way they report crime to make it look like it is down? I know they use to count every car break in as 1 incident, then they changed it to report only the area that was broken into, so a parking lot could have 10 breakins but only be reported as 1 crime by their new reporting, I know the figures don't lie, but the liers figure.
    To NZhu I don't know about crime rate, but abortion is linked to the impending collapse of our social security system (abortion creates a disproportional older population versus a smaller younger population in laymen terms there aren’t enough young people (because of abortion/ birth control) to support the old people).

    August 3, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  52. T. Robinson

    I don't know what they are talking about in last 3 weeks it been like 12 or more murders in St Joe and Elkhart counties here in Indiana. I was reading a newspaper out of Chicago and this has been one of its deadliest summers. So crime down I don't think so numbers don't always tell the truth.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  53. James

    In Michigan the govenor is firing cops. So it's no suprise then when crime goes down if there are no cops to catch the criminals

    August 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  54. DJ

    Response to NZhu: It's horrible to think about, but the science is indisputable–legalized abortion does, about fifteen to twenty years later, lead to a dramatic drop in crime. Banning abortion, conversely, seems linked to a crime wave that happens about–you guessed it–fifteen to twenty years later. Romania discovered this one the hard way when the communist government made an outright ban on abortion and contraception back in the 80's.
    Anyway, abortion laws are probably the reason that the South is seeing crime rates creep back up. Even with the increase in gun ownership by law-abiding citizens, it's just not enough to compensate for those who never should have been. Higher police presence seems to help, but the biggest factor, the only one that always makes a difference over long periods of time, is abortion.
    I read Freakonomics. Great book.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  55. dbell

    Its scary to think many folks think that by having guns in their homes or concelled there is an impact on reducing crime. Not so, not yet. Crime is not going down in terms of safety and security. Maybe there are less homicides in some cities, but robberies, carjackings and break in are rising everywhere, especially in urban areas. We need to get criminals to square up, get help and then join in making society crimeless. It can be done, but its not cheap nor easy. As long as we think its someone else's problem and we're somehow immune its not going to go anywhere. Cops need help and citizens must get involved in trying to get thugs, gangs and criminals to try something else.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  56. Serge

    To John: get an education. Enough said.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  57. phillyguy

    freakonomics is awesome

    August 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  58. Delena

    Funny...tell that to my mom who just got her $1500 catalitic converter stolen off her 4Runner.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  59. Serge

    Like Mr. Ramsey said, racism has been thrown around a lot lately, and guys like Limbaugh and others in talk radio contribute to this climate. All day long hammering on people's minds xenophobia is a bad thing. Nothing good will come out

    August 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  60. Tony

    Crime rates are down because the chiefs, commisioners, and sherriffs want them to be down. People want to say that statistics don't lie, but I disagree. When a victim gets robbed and they don't want to prosecute, the police change the stat from a robbery to a "disturbance". This is just an example, but there are stats on a larger scale that get distorted to make the police departments essentially look like they're deterring crime, like Minority Report. The bottom line is, people don't want to lose their jobs, and that includes those heads of police departments. They are politicians playing a political game, and I put just as much trust in them as I do any other Republican or Democrat, which is none. There is only one Sherriff for this country and that's Joe Arpaio.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  61. Tim

    It's the previous administration that has lowered crime. Thanks to Cheaney/Bush nobody can afford street drugs anymore.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  62. MikeInOrlando

    That's because of the crimminals in Miami and also Philly have moved to Orlando to carry on their "crimminal" activity. Thanks for NOTHING Miami. Oh, and add NYC too.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  63. Teflon Ron

    City banning affordable small pistols, aka Saturday night specials, crime rate is still up.

    In little more affluent areas gun sales are up. Go figure?

    August 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  64. Elisabeth

    In response to John: This website is for educated non ignorant people. Very ignorant to blame Mexicans for our troubles. A lot of Mexicans come to this country and do hard labor, much of the labor that we do not want to put our hands on. This country was built by immigrants! Don't forget that.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  65. Elijah

    Crime is definitely down. Minneapolis at this time of year averages about 30+ homicides and up to this point has about 8. And yes people should read Freakonomics, a direct correlation has been made between crime rates and abortion rates from two decades before.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  66. Uncle America

    This article is pure and plain government propaganda BS. Overall crime is up all across the nation. Nashville is in the middle of a break-in & robbery crime wave. Murders everyday. L.A. news doesn't have enough time on their broadcasts to cover all the daily murders. CNN is manipulated by the government and someone has found two freak cities that either really do have lower crime rates or they are lying for various obvious reasons. Too bad this reporter couldn't do they're homework.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  67. JD

    I wonder if the crime rate going down has anything to do with gun sales going through the roof. . . .. nay, they would never report it if it did. . .

    August 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  68. whaley41

    The thugs have to guess who has the guns now. In our city, we have had three thugs killed trying to rob citizens who had CWP's.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  69. Veritas

    There is no proof whatsoever that the drop in the crime rate has anything whatsoever to do with carrying concealed weapons. For instance Canada has no concealed weapons law and guns are very difficult to obtain there and their crime rate is a fraction of that of the U.S., the same holds true for Sweden, Great Britain, and most other European nations. There are probably other socio-economic factors at play that the article did not mention. Just because "A" proceeds "B" doesn't mean "A" caused "B." Saying that concealed weapon laws caused a drop in the crime rate is like saying, I passed a Dunkin' Donuts two miles before my car broke down, so therefore Dunkin Donuts caused my car to break down. It's idiotic, and so is the notion that the Second Amendment applies to individuals. It clearly was written to prevent the Federal government from prohibiting State MILITIAS and POLICE from being armed. It is about as relevant today as the Third Amendment. However, it is something that you gun-toting idiots latch onto because you can't get over your wild west mentality. The only people who have a legitimate reason for carrying weapons are police officers and soldiers. The rest of you need to find some other toy to amuse yourselves with.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  70. SWMP9

    Crime is down, because gun sales are way up.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  71. SKF

    Of course it would be down and just as I had predicted! Crooked Republican's are out of office... It's a quick trickle down effect to clean up their act! It's widely known that Democratic Adminstrations allow for alot less fraud and abuse by those in our systems upon our ordinary citizens!

    August 3, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  72. Smeagol

    I guess this does not apply to Jersey City, Mayor Healy is too busy lining his pockets instead of doing his job. Shame on you Mayor Healy!! Hopefully you get indicted.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  73. Tommy Sawyer

    Wow, that is great news! I am not going to be cynical although it could b easily done. Crime rate DOWN! CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS ARE UP AT AN ALL TIME HIGH! It appears that the Liberals could have possibly BEEN WRONG!?!!! Most law abiding citizens are buying guns, ammunition and Concealed Carry Permits before the Attorney General, Supreme Court or President Obama or a combination thereof attempts to usurp the Second Amendment! The bottom line is that when law abiding citizens are armed the cowardly criminal will not commit his crime if he thinks odds are against him!

    August 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  74. Carl

    Timoney is confused about the factual link between economics and crime.

    It is not proposed that, as he says, a normal person becomes a criminal overnight (that can happen, but it's not the cause of most crime).

    Rather, the cause is long-term economic problems. Crime is not higher where there are temporary setbacks, crime is higher where people grow from infancy to adulthood in desperate conditions.

    Thus, there should not have been any expectation that crime would go up immediately following an economic crash. The uncommon event of a short and rare recession does not refute the fact that high crime and low opportunity are continuously linked accross long periods of time.

    August 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  75. Peggy

    Crime is down? In what city? I live in Atl and crime is rampant. There is all this attention on crime in Atl because last week that famous boxer was car jacked & killed ( his funeral is today). Plus there was a city council man that was car jacked. Now he has proposed a daytime curfew on kids between 4-16. If they are not in school their parents will be fined. I hate to burst your bubble Mr. Atlanta councilman but it's not kids under 16 who are robbing, killing and car jacking. It's adult age men lacking education, jobs or a pupose for living. Also Mr. Man, you were carjacked during the summber break so that curfew would not have helped you. One day last week Chicago had 15 shootings in one night. Crime is down? Maybe in North Dakota.

    August 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  76. Reality

    Let's not forget that the Castle Doctrine law is in effect in many states now, and that the rate of firearm ownership by law abiding good men and women has increased dramatically in the last few years. The bad guys know this.

    August 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  77. Jason

    the fact that handgun bans were ruled unconstitutional, and cities like DC/Philly had to change their gun policies, followed by gun salesman of the year obama taking office couldn't possibly have led to a reduction in crime

    I mean, there are more guns in private hands now then at any time in recent memory, and criminals don't want to find themselves with a pissed off homeowner, of course that wouldn't play a part in lower crime rates

    more guns....less crime

    August 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  78. John

    Crime is down because all the illegal aliens are going back to Mexico because there are no jobs.

    August 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  79. MikeInOrlando

    That might be for some cities but here in "The City Beautiful" aka ORLANDO, FLORIDA the opposite has been the rule. Last year we have had the highest murder rate the city has ever known with 126. Other crimes are up as well. That is why the FBI has Orlando on the "3rd worst city for crime" in the USA. Move over Mickey & Minnie, a new gang is in town.....

    August 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  80. NZhu

    Abortion has been linked to lower crime rates. Read Freakonomics.

    August 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm |