The news is full of stories about people who have been raped, robbed, mugged, or otherwise assaulted, and
everyone cringes when they hear these reports. Who hasn’t feared becoming one of these victims? The truth,
however, is that the incidence of personal violence has dropped to its lowest level in almost three
Violent crime - murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault - was down from a high of 52.3
incidents per 1,000 people in 1981 to just 21.1 incidents per 1,000 in 2004, according to statistics compiled
by the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S.
Department of Justice. Aggravated assault - which involves attack with a weapon or attack without a
weapon that results in serious injury - was down even more sharply, from 12.4 incidents per 1,000 people in
1977 to just 4.3 incidents per 1,000 in 2004.
Everyone - and this applies to residents of big cities, small towns, and even rural areas - needs to be
careful, but these lower rates of crime are evidence that if people are vigilant and take common-sense
precautions, crime can be prevented.
Downloadable Resources on Violent Crime and Personal Safety