Murder Rates Are Declining For the Second Year in a Row

Jeff Asher of the New York Times takes a look at 2018 murder rates in big cities and extrapolates a likely decline of about 5 percent nationwide. If that pans out, the US murder rate will look like this:

So murder rates rose for two years (2015 and 2016) and have now declined for two years (2017 and 2018). The initial increase was quite large, and still unexplained as far as I know. However, if I had to guess, I’d say it was most likely drug related: murder rates increased as the opioid crisis finally got out of control, and the decline starting last year is a sign that perhaps the opioid crisis has peaked and is now starting to fade. This would be consistent with previous episodes of drug use, which have always been episodic and faddish, with a lifetime of around ten years or so (heroin —> crack —> marijuana —> meth —> opioids).

My prediction: murder rates will continue to decrease as the opioid epidemic finally burns out and will then plateau at around 4.0. Stay tuned.

 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate