Comparing Pittsburgh’s Crime Rates to National Rates
Most of us have been victims of crime at some point in our lives, or at least know someone who has been. Yet our country is a safer place to live than most of us think. In fact, Pittsburgh may even be safer than most of its citizens realize. Gallup and Pew surveys reaching back two decades consistently show that at least 60 percent of Americans believe that crime rates are increasing. However, reliable authorities consistently report that crime rates have steadily been decreasing.
If you or a loved one have been investigated for or charged with a crime, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys right away. We will stand by your side and protect your rights. Call us at (412) 281-2146.
National Crime Rates Are Much Lower than in the Nineties
There are two primary sources for national crimes rates. One is provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which every year counts all instances of serious crimes reported to the police in 18,000 jurisdictions across America. The other source is the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which calculates crime rates by surveying 90,000 households and asking all residents over the age of 12 whether they have been a crime victim.
The crime rates reported by the BJS are much higher than those reported by the FBI. In 2016, for example, the BJS rate of 21 crimes per 1,000 people was more than five-and-a-half times higher than the FBI rate of 386 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Not all crimes get reported to the police, which means that the FBI fails to count a substantial number of crimes. But the BJS crime rates, which are based on the recollections of random individuals, might be less reliable than the FBI’s, which are informed by objective government records.
Despite these methodological differences, the BJS and FBI’s measurements of crime rates both show that violent crime has declined since 1993. The FBI numbers show that violent crime decreased by almost half between 1993 and 2016. The BJS data shows that violent crime rates fell by 75 percent during the same time. Following a similar pattern, property crime rates fell by half according to the FBI and by 66 percent according to BJS.
Pittsburgh Murder Rates Are High, but Violent Crime Is Generally Low
In Pittsburgh, the violent crime rate according to the FBI is approximately 270 per 100,000 residents, which is well below the national average of 386 per 100,000. The city’s murder rate, however, is significantly higher than the national average. The murder rate in Pittsburgh was 18 per 100,000 residents in 2016, but only 5 per 100,000 nationally. Yet Pittsburgh murder rate is lower than Chicago (28 murders per 100,000), Baltimore (51 per 100,000), and St. Louis (60 per 100,000).
This means that in Pittsburgh, you have a higher than average chance of being murdered. On the other hand, your chances of being the victim of violent crime in general is lower than average. There are many different offenses that get counted in the category “violent crime,” from murders to simple assault and battery. Furthermore, different types of violent crimes tend to occur in different areas. Pittsburgh, like many other cities, has a persistent gang and gun violence problem–even though other types of crime have generally subsided in the long term.
Because of the ongoing gang and firearm-related violence in the city, Pittsburgh and Allegheny authorities vigorously prosecute all cases involving guns or an alleged gang affiliation. If you get accused of one of these crimes, the best way to avoid the devastating penalties of a criminal conviction is to retain the services of an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation with your defense team.