Year-End Analysis: Overall Crime Rate Steady in 2016

December 20, 2016

Murder Rate Up, With Chicago Accounting for More Than 40 Percent of Increase

New York, NY – Overall crime rates in 2016 are projected to remain the same as last year, according to a year-end analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The murder rate is projected to increase, driven by problems in Chicago.

Crime in 2016: Updated Analysis presents data from the 30 largest cities in the United States analyzed by a team of economics and policy researchers. It updates the Center’s September analysis, Crime in 2016: A Preliminary Analysis.

Several key findings:

  • Crime overall in the 30 largest cities is projected to remain roughly the same as in 2015, rising by 0.3 percent.
  • The violent crime rate is projected to increase slightly, by just over 3 percent, driven by increases in Chicago (17.7 percent increase) and Charlotte (13.4 percent increase). Violent crime still remains near the bottom of the nation’s 30-year downward trend.
  • The 2016 murder rate is projected to be 14 percent higher than last year in the 30 largest cities. Chicago is projected to account for 43.7 percent of the total increase.

“Our findings directly contradict the ‘out-of-control’ narrative we heard from President-Elect Trump this year,” said Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program and an author of the analysis. “Crime nationally is projected to remain at all-time lows. These particular problems of violence in Chicago, however, must be addressed.”

The preliminary analysis of 2016 crime rates examined possible reasons for the increasing violence in Chicago. Those included poverty and other forms of socioeconomic disadvantage, gang violence, and fewer police officers. 

To schedule an interview, contact Rebecca Autrey at or 646-292-8316.