It’s difficult to believe that a little over 100 years ago not only did people rarely if ever lock their doors in the United States many houses didn’t even have locks on the doors. In today’s world, filled with atrocious headlines and daily murders, that thought is as strange a concept as not having to pay federal taxes. Especially with regard to the large cities that dot the country side of America. The brutal crime rate and their remarkable progress in the 20th century are unparalleled around the world. The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave has also given liberty to many destructive activities. These atrocities encompass every severe offense you can think of, from murder and attempted murder to reckless property crimes such as breaking and entering.
While the felony rate in America rose steadily for many years in the twentieth century, the fact is, the violent crime percentage has declined for the past years. In fact, from 1974 to 1994, though the criminality rate both rose and fell the violent crime ratio remained unchanged at approximately 4% to 4.5%.
In part, one of this two-part series, we’ll cover the history and progress of brutal crimes in America. In part two, we’ll cover the recent decline in the violent crime proportion and review the 5 most dangerous cities in the United States of America today.
Unfortunately, brutal wrongdoings has been a significant issue in the United States for the past 100 years or so, especially when compared to other developed parts of the world. In London, for example, in 1916 there were only 45 reported homicides. Chicago alone almost had 200 homicides that same year, or more than 4 times that of a larger European city. For the most part, the United States brutal crime rate has been three, four, and even five times the rate of similar Western European countries and cities throughout the course of the 1900’s.
The gangsters and organized crime families that took hold of large urban areas in the 1920’s and 1930’s didn’t help matters as far as the increasing felonies ratio went. The real history of raging criminality shows that the crime rate has risen even more as mobsters lost power and influence. The heyday for the likes of Lucky Luciano and Al Capone might have seemed glorious and far-reaching, but Lucky Luciano was in prison by 1936 and was deported back to Sicily in 1946. Capone was in solitary in Alcatraz by August 11th 1934. The real arc in crime in the United States, started in the 1950’s and took off by the 1960’s.
In 1950, under J.Edgar Hoover’s leadership, the FBI released the following data, underscoring a disturbing trend in the United States: “Crime increased 7.4 percent in the rural areas and 1.9 percent in the cities the first half of 1950 over the same period of 1949.”
This was the beginning of a continuous increase in violent criminality proportions in the United States, for nearly 30 years. As crime steadily rose in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, TV news shows and even in novels such as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood increasingly focused on the brutal wrongdoings that was raging throughout U.S. Neighborhoods. This increased awareness may have affected the increase in violent atrocities, as people were exposed to the means of committing a crime and even the punishments associated when caught, but many criminals were immortalized and even celebrated. Bank robbers like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd were literally celebrated by the media and were looked up too by many broke Americans as they robbed the “rich” during the Great Depression and lived a lifestyle, or so people believed, of the rich and famous.
Whether or not these news shows, films and novels, romanticized the violent criminal, law-breaking in America was growing by leaps and bounds. By 1964, the violent crime percentage had increased over 345%. It continued to grow at an astounding speed until it peaked in 1993. Since then, though still too high for comfort, the dangerous felony ratio has steadily decreased even though the population in the United States has continued to grow.
There have been numerous theories as to why the crime rate rose so fast for so long in the United States. Possibly from gun control laws or a lack of to child abuse to lead paint poisoning affecting the brains of many potential criminals. One the less, for whatever the reason, the vicious criminality rate has and still does eclipse the crime ratio of the rest of the civilized world. The one good thing is that the law-breaking percentage has finally started to fall. Perhaps the United States will even cease to be the leader in violent crime rate in the civilized world someday, but for now, we still are.
While America is noted for its high, atrocious wrongdoing ratio, it must be noted that overall, most American citizens are law-abiding patriots. Historically, during rough economic times, the vicious felony ratio has risen more than during lush economic periods, but of note, though our economy has faltered badly in the past 3 years since the bursting of the housing bubble, the violent crime rate has continued to decline at quite a fast pace.
Reprinted with the author’s permission.