In September, the Brennan Center analyzed available crime data from the nation’s 30 largest cities, estimating that these cities would see a decline in crime and murder in 2018. Our report, Crime and Murder in 2018: A Preliminary Analysis, concluded that crime and murder in 2018 are again declining nationwide, continuing the historic downward trend.
This analysis updates the September report and finds that, where data were available, rates of crime, violent crime, and murder in major American cities are estimated to decline through the end of 2018. However, murder rates in some cities remain above 2015 levels, demonstrating a continued need for evidence-based solutions to violent crime.
This report’s main findings are:
- Murder: The 2018 murder rate in the 30 largest cities is estimated to decline by nearly 6 percent. Large decreases this year in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as moderate decreases in other cities such as Baltimore, contributed to this decline. The murder rate in Chicago — which increased significantly in 2015 and 2016 — is projected to decline by 18.1 percent in 2018. The murder rate in San Francisco is estimated to fall by nearly 27 percent. Baltimore’s 2018 murder rate is projected to decline by 7.4 percent. Some cities are projected to see their murder rates rise, including Washington, D.C. (by 39.5 percent), and Houston (by 22.6 percent). Further study is needed to better understand the causes of these rises.
- Crime: The overall crime rate in the 30 largest cities in 2018 is estimated to decline slightly from the previous year, falling by 1.8 percent. While this conclusion is based on preliminary data, if the trend holds, the crime rate will fall to its lowest since at least 1990.
- Violent Crime: Violent crime rates are projected to decline in the majority of the 30 largest cities through the end of 2018. Overall, the violent crime rate is estimated to decrease by 2.7 percent, continuing a downward trend from 2017.
Estimates of crime and violent crime are based on data from 22 of the nation’s 30 largest cities; estimates of murder include data from all 30 cities. While the estimates in this report are based on early data, previous Brennan Center reports have correctly estimated the direction and magnitude of changes in major-city crime rates.