Crime in the United States continues to fall, though most people do not recognize this trend. FBI data in the graphic below from the Wall Street Journal shows the one year trend of major categories. James Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeaster University in Boston, says people “simply won’t believe” crime is roughly half what it was two decades ago. Partly this is because pockets of lawlessness are still common in some neighborhoods, but more because news and television programming highlights criminal activity.
How do we interpret this information? First, we can be grateful to God and the police who serve (Romans 13:4) for making this one of the safest societies in the history of mankind. Second, this reminds us of the value of aggregated economic information that can help us overcome biases introduced by our individual perceptions. In the same way, economic data can provide a broader overview to guide wiser decisions.