Crime in 2017: A Preliminary Analysis

September 6, 2017

For this analysis, researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law collected crime data directly from local police departments in America’s 30 largest cities, and then used historical trends to estimate 2017 year-end crime numbers. Several key findings include:

- The overall crime rate in 2017 is projected to decrease slightly, by 1.8 percent. If this estimate holds, 2017 will have the second-lowest crime rate since 1990.

- The violent crime rate is projected to decrease slightly, by 0.6 percent, essentially remaining stable. This result is driven primarily by stabilization in Chicago, and declines in Washington, D.C., two large cities that experienced increases in violence in recent years. The violent crime rate for this year is projected to be about 1 percent above 2014’s violent crime rate, the lowest recorded since 1990.

- The 2017 murder rate is projected to be 2.5 percent lower than last year. This year’s decline is driven primarily by decreases in Detroit (down 25.6 percent), Houston (down 20.5 percent), and New York (down 19.1 percent). Chicago’s murder rate is also projected to fall, by 2.4 percent. The 2017 murder rate is expected to be on par with that of 2009, well at the bottom of the historic post-1990 decline, yet still higher than the lowest recorded rate in 2013.

- While crime is down this year, some cities are projected to experience localized increases. For example, Charlotte’s murder rate doubled in the first six months of 2017 relative to last year. Detailed graphs on each of the 30 cities where data was available is included in Section III.

The Brennan Center’s previous report analyzing crime in 2016 is available here, and a report analyzing historical crime trends from 1990 to 2016 is available here.

Crime in 2017: A Preliminary Analysis by The Brennan Center for Justice