Criminal justice majors are proposing to put themselves in the center of one of the most contentious and controversial parts of our political process. What makes it so contentious? Let’s look at some data.
Crime data resources
U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Violent Victimization Committed by Strangers, 1993-2010 (Violent crimes committed by strangers has decreased far more rapidly than violent crime committed by relatives and friends of the victim. If you want to be safe, don’t go home.)
FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports
Crime in the U.S. (CIUS) year by year 1995 – 2015
Crime Reports’ map of crimes
United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime’s Data and Indicators
University of Michigan’s National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
Nationmaster’s Crime Statistics
Pew Research Center’s Crime and Criminal Justice
Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Regime for Transnational Crime
National Institute of Justice’s Community Crime Prevention Strategies
Research History’s Hard Times, Fewer Crimes
Wikipedia’s Statistical correlations of criminal behaviour
The Handbook of Crime Correlates collects in one source the summary analysis of crime research worldwide. It provides over 400 tables that divide crime research into nine broad categories:
Pervasiveness and intra-offending relationships
Ecological and macroeconomic factors
Family and peer factors
Behavioral and personality factors
Crime victimization and fear of crime
Within these broad categories, tables identify regions of the world and how separate variables are or are not positively or negatively associated with criminal behavior.
Should marijuana be used as an alternative medicine for pain instead of using narcotics?
How responsive is drug use to changes in price, risk, availability, and “normalcy”?
Express Script’s A Nation in Pain
Center for Disease Control’s Opioid Data Analysis
National Safety Council — 99 percent of physicians exceed the recommended three-day dosage limit, with a quarter of them writing prescriptions for a full month and thus overprescribing these types of medications.
Pew Research Center’s Guns
Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Victimization During Household Burglary
Lists of data compiled from other sources. Cite the original source, not these compilations of data.
Smart Gun Law’s Statistics
Everytown’s Gun Violence by the Numbers ( Research
Gun Violence Archive’s Charts and Maps
Gun crime statistics by US state: latest data (mostly from the FBI)
These links will all take you to the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, which collects and links to articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. If you use these sources, you should cite the journal where they were published, not this National Library of Medicine listing of them.
New England Journal of Medicine’s Preventing Gun Deaths in Children
John Hopkins’ Center for Gun Policy and Research – Intimate Partner Violence and Firearms
U.S. Bureau of Prison’s Statistics
Pew Research Center’s Incarceration
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Death penalty information
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)’s Statistics
Connecticut’s Minimum conviction penalties
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Databases
Our World in Data’s Nuclear weapons
Correlates of War’s Datasets
War in North-West Pakistan
International campaign against ISIL
Size of the military budget
Has the crime rate risen or dropped in the past 30 years?
Does anything going on in the world affect crime rate?
How can future crimes be prevented?
How much crime was committed in the past? 2004, almost 1.5 million violent crimes committed in US.
How much crime is there now? In 2010, dropped to 1.2 million.
Should we up the training to become a police officer?
Should we keep the death penalty?
Should woman go to jail for making a false rape accusation?
Should we restrict the people who are able to purchase guns?
Should we stop the sale of guns to the public completely?
How many homicides involve guns each year?
What is the second Amendment ?
Why do most people own a gun?
Do gun laws work?
How have gun control laws/restrictions changed in the last 50-100 years?
What kind of weapons should/should not be controlled by the government? How has this changed over the years?
What age/genders/races own the most guns? Why is this? Does this effect the rate of violent crimes?
Guns/weapons- relating to violent crimes in America. How many per year are directly related? Can this be stopped?
What are the rates/statistics related to other countries?
Why don’t people report their rape?
How come the incarceration rate is so low for people who commit a rape?
FBI: UCR https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/violent-crime/violent-crime
What is the incarceration rate in the U.S.? What was it before, has it increased or decreased?
Are there more incarceration in certain neighborhoods with certain ethnicities than others?
Where are more incarcerated people held? (local jails, state prisons, etc.)
How much are taxpayers paying to keep prisons open?
What percentage of incarcerated people are later found to be innocent, are they mostly a certain ethnicity?
Which states have the highest incarceration rates? Why?
Do most jails provide recidivism?
What is being done about prison rape?
Why are so many Americans incarcerated?
Is it mostly men/women/children?
Was it always like this? How and what has changed from then until now?
What crimes are sending most people to jail/
What is the average time a person spends in jail?
Repeat offenders? & what can we do so we have less repeat offenders?
How are those incarcerated treated?
Should the death penalty be allowed to be used in the United States?
Is the death penalty worth having it in the United States?
How often is the death penalty used in any case of murder or death?
How many people are killed each year and have the death penalty used on the person that had killed them?
How many people in the United States believe that the death penalty is right and how many believe that it is completely wrong to use?
How much is being spent on war and weapons?
How much revenue is being made from the manufacturing and selling of weapons?
How much money are other countries spending on war and weapons?
How much has spending on war and weapons increased in the past to present?
(sources on Power and Money page)
|military expenditure per capita, US$||1,900||--||750||--||--||900|
|military and paramilitary personnel (number per 1,000)||2,300,000 (7.3)||700,000 (10)||46,000 (2.7)||3,500,000 (2.6)||2,000,000 (10)||85,000 (3.6)|
|guns, per 100 residents||112||15||3||5||8||22|
|prisoners, per 100,000||693||450||69||--||307||162|
|capital punishment, number executions||42||0||0||470||0||0|
|intentional homicide, per 100,000 residents (number of homicides)||42 (12,200)||50||11 (125)||10||210||10 (238)|
|police officers, per 100,000 residents||243||365||0.9||--||--||222|
|cannabis, % adult annual use||16.0||1.2||7.0||--||2.6||10.0|
|safety, % yes||42||66||62||--||15||49|
|Quality of Life Index, rank||16||50||8||49||37||2|
The U.S. outpaces the rest of the world in private gun ownership. We have more guns than people.
- United States 112 guns per 100 people
- Serbia 75 guns per 100 people
- Yemen 54
- Cyprus 36
- Saudi Arabia 35
- Iraq 34
The U.S. also leads the world in the percentage of the population that is in jail or prison. The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population but 22% of its prisoners.
That’s not because the U.S. has more crime. In fact, the U.S. has less crime than many other countries with much lower incarceration rates. In spite of what politicians tell you, crime has been decreasing for decades.
We are now spending $80 billion a year to imprison 2.2 million Americans, who are disproportionately African-American, Latino and Native American. We have more people in jail than any other country on earth, including China, which is home to four times as many people.
Given the nature of complex human behavior, there is not always a bright line where criminal behavior begins. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that about half of the crimes committed are reported to or detected by a law enforcement agency. After that the criminal justice funnel narrows further. Conclusion: most people get away with most crimes most of the time.
Yet blacks are far more likely to be incarcerated longer than white who commit the same crimes. See Pew Research’s Incarceration gap widens between whites and blacks.
These criminal justice issues are the result of choices our society has made politically. For example, Dearborn County in rural southeastern Indiana, population 50,000, sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C. with combined populations of over 1,000,000.
What other options do we have?
- How do we reform a broken criminal justice system?
- How do we create jobs and educational opportunity for young people, not more jails and incarceration?
- What do the U.S. political parties propose to do?
- What options did the Australian and Dutch societies choose instead?
- What do you think the U.S. should do? Why?