Violent and Property Crime Rates Have Fallen, But Drug Abuse Arrests Have Grown

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In the last 40 years, the violent crime rate reached its highest point in 1991 at 758 per 100,000 people and then fell to its lowest point in 2014 at 362 per 100,000 people, a decrease of 52%. Violent crime has since begun to increase, reaching 383 per 100,000 people in 2017. Property crime rates have also fallen (Fig. 89). In 1991, there were 5,140 reported property crimes (this includes larceny, burglary, and auto-theft, among others) per 100,000 people.

Property crimes dropped to just 2,362 per 100,000 people in 2017. Although arrests for property and violent crimes have decreased compared to 1980, arrests for drug crimes per 100,000 people have nearly doubled in that time period (Fig. 90). In 2017, more people were arrested for drug crimes than for property crimes. 85% of arrests for drug crime were related to possession, up from 78% in 1980. In 2017, over 40% of drug-related arrests in the US were related to the possession or sale of marijuana.

Fraud complaints per 100,000 people (white-collar crimes reported directly to the Federal Trade Commission) rose between 2000 and 2017, yet actual arrests of fraud per 100,000 people fell in the same time period (Fig. 92).