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Fox News
Fox News
16 Dec 2023


A new report NBC News declared that the majority of Americans who believe that crime is getting worse in America are "wrong."

Citing FBI statistics showing the crime rates across the U.S. are in decline this year, NBC News reporter Kevin Dilanian explained that the 77 percent of Americans who believe it’s getting worse are being "conditioned" by social media and news to see it that way.

In his NBCNews.com piece, titled, "Most people think the U.S. crime rate is rising. They're wrong," Dilanian wrote, "Crime in the United States has declined significantly over the last year, according to new FBI data that contradicts a widespread national perception that law-breaking and violence are on the rise."

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Police car outside The National Zoo in D.C.

A new NBC News report argued that contrary to most Americans' perceptions, crime is declining in the U.S. (Drew Angerer / Staff)

Dilanian cited criminologist Jeff Asher, who stated that national crime rates in the third quarter of 2023 "dropped 8%" as compared to the same period in the previous years, "while property crime fell 6.3% to what would be its lowest level since 1961."

However, these declines do not appear to match up with most American’s current perception of the national crime rate. Dilanian stated, "A Gallup poll released this month found that 77% of Americans believe crime rates are worsening."

"But they are mistaken," he added.

Breaking down Gallup’s numbers further, the reporter noted, "Yet 92% of Republicans, 78% of independents and 58% of Democrats believe crime is rising, the Gallup survey shows."

To account for this, Asher argued that this discrepancy is due to media coverage.

"I think we’ve been conditioned, and we have no way of countering the idea," he said, adding, "It’s just an overwhelming number of news media stories and viral videos — I have to believe that social media is playing a role."

The article also pointed to the FBI’s latest annual crime report which was for 2022. "The most recent annual report, released in October, covered 94% of the country and found that violent crime in 2022 fell back to pre-pandemic levels, with murder dropping 6.1%," Dilanian stated. 

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West Virginia police

The report argued that news and social media are conditioning Americans to think crime is rising.  (Charleston, WV Police Department Facebook)

He then cited Asher’s own separate database of the murder rate in big cities. According to the criminologist’s stats, "murder is down 12.7 percent this year, after rising during the pandemic."

Asher did acknowledge that "A few cities, including Memphis and Washington DC, are still seeing increases in their murder rates," though he stated "they are outliers."

The reporter also explained, "Retail theft is widely believed to have skyrocketed in some cities, and the industry says it is at ‘unprecedented’ levels. But the data doesn’t necessarily support that thesis."

Dilanian’s report caps off another year in which ordinary Americans have expressed growing alarm about crime in big cities.

There have been many examples reported. Government employees in San Francisco reported having to work from home to avoid being crime victims

Restaurant and small business owners in big cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Oakland have reported having to shutter their businesses because clients now avoid the "crime zones" they are located near.

And within the last year, major retailers have had to close stores in cities citing massive theft losses.

Gabriel Hays is an associate editor for Fox News Digital.