53% worry “a great deal” about crime, compared with 39% in 2014
44% are concerned about drug use, also up significantly since 2014
Americans’ level of concern about crime and violence is at its highest point in 15 years. Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults say they personally worry “a great deal” about crime and violence, an increase of 14 percentage points since 2014. This figure is the highest Gallup has measured since March 2001.
Many large U.S. cities reported spikes in their homicide rates in 2015, including Milwaukee, St. Louis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
More broadly, those with no college education are roughly twice as likely as those with a college degree to worry about crime, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year are much more likely than those earning at least $75,000 to worry about crime and violence. Nonwhites’ concern about crime is much higher than whites’ worry about the issue.
Traditionally, this made sense. Crime still affects lower income people more because they live closer to where it takes place. Those who can afford to live in upscale neighborhoods are relatively sheltered from most of the sort of crime that occurs in low-income surroundings. But that seems to be changing. More and more criminals are seeking out places where more affluent people live, work and shop. The bad guys have figured out that these places offer lucrative opportunities for criminals to ply their trade.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) currently pending in Congress, if enacted, will release more violent criminals who this time will be preying on the very sort of people who are currently wringing their hands over America’s high incarceration rate. One could say they will be getting what they wished for, but then so will the rest of us only we aren’t wishing for it.