US

Americans more worried about crime amid violence and retail crime wave

By Casey Harper (Centre Square)

After a major spike in violent crime in recent years and a surge in retail theft, Americans are increasingly concerned about crime.

A recently released Gallup poll found that 53% of Americans surveyed worry “a lot” about crime, the highest level since 2016. The poll found an additional 27% of Americans are “somewhat” worried about crime. crime, with women, Republicans and city dwellers among the most affected.

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“Americans’ concern about crime and violence in the United States has increased slightly over the past year, and for the first time since 2016, a majority (53%) say they personally worry ‘a lot’ about crime,” Gallup said. “Another 27% say they worry ‘quite a bit’, putting the issue at the top of the list of 14 national concerns – behind only inflation and the economy, and tied with hunger and homelessness. .”

This level of concern is the highest in several years.

“Gallup has tracked this measure since 2001, when a record 88% of American adults said they were worried about crime and violence, including 62% who expressed great concern,” the group said. “Worry about crime was lowest in 2014 when 70% were worried, including 39% who said they were very worried.”

The poll comes after a major wave of violent crime in recent years. Now, retail theft is unchecked in parts of California where viral videos have shown thieves entering stores and filling trash bags with merchandise only to walk out unmolested.

San Francisco has become a focus for this concern where retail crime has become so rampant that Walgreens has closed 22 locations in the city.

“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers in San Francisco and we are not immune to it,” Walgreens said in a statement. “Retail theft in our San Francisco stores has continued to increase over the past several months to five times our chain average. During this time, to help combat this issue, we have increased our investments in security measures in city stores to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide such a safe environment.

Other stores have reported similar issues, largely due to a recent law in California that treats any theft under $950 as a non-violent crime. These crimes are almost never prosecuted, and the audacity of thieves has steadily increased in California cities.

New York has also seen an increase in retail crime that follows a spike in violent crime in recent years.

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The FBI reported a large increase in homicides in 2020 alone. FBI data is not yet available for 2021, but these numbers are also expected to be high.

According to the FBI, about 21,500 murders were reported in 2020, the highest number in decades.

“In 2020, there were approximately 1,277,696 violent crimes,” the FBI said. “Compared to 2019 estimates, the estimated number of theft offenses decreased by 9.3% and the estimated volume of rape offenses (revised definition) decreased by 12.0%. The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses increased by 12.1%, and the volume of murder and manslaughter offenses increased by 29.4%.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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