Gallup survey: 7 in 10 Americans believe crime increased from previous year
WASHINGTON — Seventy percent of Americans believe there is more crime than last year, according to a Gallup survey.
Conversely, 20 percent responded there is less crime, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday.
Last year, 63 percent thought there was more crime, while 21 percent thought less.
Since Gallup began asking the question in 1989, a majority of Americans have said crime increased from the previous year except for one year — in 2001, one year after the Sept. 11 attacks. But in 2002 it increased to 62 percent, possibly because of the 2002 Washington, D.C., sniper shootings. The peak was 89 percent in 1992.
The perceptions of increased crime correspond to FBI statistics. In September, the FBI announced that homicides were up by 11 percent in 2015 from the previous year. The violent crime rate increased by about 4 percent in 2015 — the highest in three years.
Respondents also were asked about their perceptions of crime locally. Forty-five percent say local crime increased from last year, essentially unchanged from 46 percent the previous year. Also, 33 percent say there is less local crime and 20 percent say it is the same amount.
Nationally, 60 percent of Americans say the crime problem is “extremely” or “very” serious. This is slightly higher from last year (59 percent) but tied for the high point over the past 16 years. Also, 32 percent said it is a “moderate” concern and 7 percent “not at all.”
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 5-9 with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is 4 percentage points.