Gallup Poll Finds More Americans Think Crime Is on the Rise

Frank May/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Frank May/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

A Gallup poll finds that Americans feel crime is on the rise, with more Americans saying there is more crime this year than last year.

The new poll found that 70 percent of Americans feel crime is rising, and that is up from 63 percent in 2014. On the other hand, only 18 percent say there is less crime. Only 8 percent said that crime rates have remained static since 2014.

The lowest number of respondents who felt crime was rising—since Gallup first started asking the question in 1989—was in 2001 when the number fell to 41 percent. The highest was 89 percent, found in the early 1990s. But as recently as 2009, that number reached 74 percent.

Since 1989, though, Gallup’s question on crime rates shows that Americans’ perception of crime does not exactly correspond with reality. In fact, real crime rates have experienced a decline over the last 20 years, while most people feel crime has been rising.

Last year, for instance, Time magazine reported that real crime rates in the U.S. were at their lowest rate since 1978.

The magazine noted that, in 2013, the FBI reported violent crime in the U.S. had fallen 4.4 percent over rates in 2012.

“All types of violent crimes experienced decline last year,” the magazine wrote, “with rape dropping 6.3 percent, murder and non-negligent manslaughter dropping 4.4 percent and robbery dropping 2.8 percent.”

But even as crime had fallen in 2013, Gallup found that nearly 70 percent of Americans thought crime was up.

In fact, as Gallup notes, between 1994 and 2010, nearly every category of violent crime experienced a steady decline. Yet, during most of that time, except for a few scant years in the late 90s and early 2000s, Americans felt that crime was getting worse.

Finally, while all groups felt that crime was rising, at 71 percent to 55 percent, women seemed more likely than men to say they thought crime was up.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.