In a bit of welcome positive news, the violent crime rate in Massachusetts continued to decline in 2016, maintaining a six-year trend. This is especially uplifting considering that violent crime rates across much of the rest of the country are unfortunately increasing year over year. We’ll break it down a little further in this post.
According to the FBI’s annual crime report, the rate of violent crime in the U.S. is rising by several percentages each year. The agency defines “violent” crime as an illegal act committed with force of the threat of force and includes the worst crimes in the penal system. There were 1.2 million reported incidents of a violent nature in 2016 alone — which is an increase of 3.4% since 2015. This does not constitute a sunny trend.
The Criminal Justice Landscape in Massachusetts
Fortunately, things are actually improving in this area of the Bay State. The instance of reported violent crimes in Massachusetts dropped 3.3% between 2015 and 2016. The total number of violent crimes reported in 2016 was 25,677. The FBI states that the main factor driving this decrease is an overall decrease in reported aggravated assaults, which fell by 4.9%.
This reporting comes at a crucial time for our state’s law enforcement officials and legislators. In the wake of two major drug-testing scandals, criminal justice reform has been on everyone’s minds. Proponents of changes may attribute these numbers to a decrease in recidivism following legislative changes. Conversely, supporters of the tough-on-crime mindset may say those harsh penalties have resulted in a decrease in the violent crime rate. What happens next is yet to be determined, but Thomas Whitney Attorney at Law will keep you updated.