The American dream is an old adage that never ceases to end. Since the formation of the New World in the 16th century, people have found a home in this beautiful country. America’s greatness comes from its multiculturalism. However, with all the opportunities for a better life in the US comes the question of safety. So, how safe is the US anyway?
Statistics show that crime rates in the US were much higher than in any other country in the world. The crime graph has seen some spikes in the late 1900s, but better enforcement has made things safer for American citizens. The graph has gradually but surely been coming down since 1994.
One reason for the decline in the sharp peaks of crime rates has been the incorporation of advanced technology to solve criminal cases. Additionally, improved judicial laws and empowering local police have had a favourable impact overall.
How safe is the US?
Ever since the implementation of strict laws and penalties on criminal offenders, the crime rates have declined. While some cities are quite safe, others are still considered perilous. Nevertheless, this has zero impact on the job opportunities or for the American dream to die. The US is still the top choice for many students and businesspersons alike.
Given any opportunity to move to the US, people from around the world would jump on a plane and fly towards their dream country. While the highest crime rate in the US was recorded in the 1970s, many restrictions have made it safer for children, the elderly, and young adults to build a life in the country.
It is important to enlighten the citizens around the world about the crime rates in the US, so they make an informed decision. The way the US counters all acts of crime is commendable, ensuring the citizens of the US feel safe, and the law punishes the offenders. American people are generally happy with good overall health and a high standard of living.
This guide will look at the crime levels and types of crimes most common in the US. The aim is to bring awareness to visitors, students, and immigrants to the US so they can travel the country with confidence and knowledge.
Safest cities in the US
According to the latest report published by NEWS10, the crime rates have declined compared to the last decade. However, with tensions from the COVID-19 pandemic, along with political, racial, and social tensions, there has been a slight increase in the crime rates in the US. The good news is that property crimes have declined for the consecutive 18 years.
The following list shows the safest cities in the US in 2022:
- Wayland, MA – crime rate 7.22
- Northport, NY – crime rate 27.56
- Milton, WI – crime rate 31.57
- Homer, NY – crime rate 32.46
- Coxsackie, NY – crime rate 37.66
- Durham, NY – crime rate 37.76
- New Hanover, NJ – crime rate 38.17
- Pine Plains, NY – crime rate 41.68
- Rangely, CO – crime rate 44.37
- Colstrip, MT – crime rate 44.46
That being said, most common crimes are still quite widespread across the country. Mainly because of a rise in unemployment due to a global lockdown which caused other physical and psychological strains. At the start of the pandemic, people found themselves in unique situations that added an extra burden on their lives. As a result, crime rates rose across the world, including the US.
The situation has taken a turn now with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and international travel resuming. People are being offered new job opportunities, resulting in the decline of crime across the country.
Most common crimes in the US
Whether you are moving to the US for higher education or starting your dream career, you must educate yourself on a few types of crime. The following crime figures derived from Statista shows the most common crimes in the US along with the statistics:
- Murder and Homicide – the total number of murders and homicide cases in the US in 2021 totaled 21,570. California State alone had over 2000 murders, with African Americans being the highest number of victims in the country. The murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants was 6.5 in 2021.
- Sexual Assault – the total number of rape cases reported in the US was 126,430, with the rate being as high as 38.4. The sexual assault rate in Alaska alone was 154.8.
- Robbery – total number of robberies in the US in 2021 was 243,600. The robbery crime rate in the US was 73.9, with DC having the highest figure of 332.9.
- Aggravated Assault – the number of aggravated assault cases reported in the US was 921,505. New Mexico had the highest rate of 615.9, with a total rate of 279.9 in the US.
- Mass Shootings – mass shootings are not very common in the US. However, the Las Vegas Strip Massacre still has the highest number of victims totaling 604. Between 1982 and 2021, there have been three mass shooting incidents where the shooter was a female. Moreover, 66 of these shootings involved criminals of the white ethnicity.
Criminal laws in the US
Criminal laws in the US are one of the strongest in the world, with no room left for injustice. Since the US is a huge country, all states have the authority to decide which actions are considered crimes. Therefore, all states have their unique criminal codes.
Congress, however, chooses to punish certain conducts, which have been coded and are followed by all states. The Title 18 of the US Code has all the criminal codes followed by the entire country. These fall under federal criminal laws. Every state closely mimics the criminal code of common law; the New York Penal Law, however, resembles the Model Penal Code.
How do these laws make the US a safer place?
The US Department of Justice talks about five things that make a criminal think about the consequences leading to a significant reduction in crime rates. Five important points were concluded after a study to determine what a criminal does after thinking about the consequences of their actions.
The study is based on scientific evidence of human behavior and how they perceive the cost of committing a crime. These deterrents are:
- The certainty of being caught. Interestingly, for would-be criminals, being punished is acceptable but being caught is not.
- Being sentenced to serve time in prison is not a very effective deterrent. It has only proven to breed more criminals where inmates learn new tricks from each other.
- Police play an effective role in preventing crimes just by showing up. Based on research on human behavior, a police officer showing up with handcuffs and a radio is highly effective than any other increased penalties.
- The severity of the punishment and its increase are ineffective to deter crime because criminals have little to no knowledge about the sanctions of the crimes. Once they commit a crime, a more severe punishment does not scare them to back down.
- A study by the National Academy of Sciences concludes that there is no proof whether capital punishment increases, decreases, or impacts murder rates at all.
The technical knowledge of these facts has helped the US law and the police significantly reduce crime rates. Moreover, the use of innovative technology and modern DNA tests have increased the likeness of quickly catching the criminal. Unsolved crimes committed over two decades ago can be solved today using these modern techniques. This is why the certainty of being caught is the most effective deterrent today.
How to stay safe in the US?
The US has a period of dark history, where crime rates were sky-high. However, the efforts by the judicial law have turned the tables for good. Today, the US is considered a safe country with many opportunities for those willing to do what it takes.
The US is famous for looking after its citizens and other global citizens present in the vast land. Several emergency platforms are available to every person in the US – whether a local, immigrant or merely a tourist. Calling 911 for any emergency is a common practice among the citizens of the US. In fact, children are trained in schools to dial 911 and speak to the agent.
This helpline can get you an ambulance if you need one. If you start to feel unsafe anywhere in the country, just dial 911, and the chances are that the offender will flee. If not, help will arrive instantly, and you will find yourself safe. This fool-proof system is designed to ensure your safety and well-being.
Crime levels in the US have been high because of the freedom every individual is entitled to. However, the advancement of law enforcement agencies has done much to deter crime rates. The US is still considered a land of opportunities where you can recreate yourself to your liking.