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Majority of Americans Believe Local Crime Has Increased: Poll

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Julio has been covering the rise in crime impacting some of America’s largest cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. In several polls, Americans have indicated that they trust Republicans to handle the issue of crime better than Democrats, who are constantly lobbying for gun control and are known to be “soft on crime.” With the midterms around the corner, a new poll asked people if local crime has increased in their community. The majority answered “yes.”

In a Gallup poll released Friday, 56 percent of Americans said there was more local crime in their community compared to one year ago. This is the highest figure in the survey for this question since Gallup began asking it 50 years ago.

Public perception of crime on the national level saw an uptick as well:

Public perceptions of an increase in crime at the national level have also edged up since last year, as 78% say there is now more crime in the U.S. This is tied with the 2020 measure. The record high was 89% in 1992, when crime rates soared in the U.S.

The results were compiled from Oct. 3-20. The lowest point for both trends was recorded post-9/11, Gallup noted:

The low points for both trends were recorded in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. resulted in a rally effect among Americans and the large loss of life at the hands of terrorists overshadowed perceptions of local and national crime.

During George W. Bush and Bill Clinton’s presidencies, both parties held similar views on crime, the write-up noted. Now, 73 percent of Republicans say crime in their area has risen, while only 42 percent of Democrats say the same.

Worries about children’s safety in schools have increased by 13 points to 47 percent. Fear of being sexually assaulted has risen to 29 percent, up from 21 percent last year. Fear of getting murdered has risen to 29 percent, up from 22 percent. 

Going into the midterms, Gallup noted that inflation is a “top issue” for voters, but crime is at the forefront in many state and local elections as well. 

There is no shortage of issues weighing on voters' minds during this year's midterm elections. As the U.S. continues to suffer from high inflation, the economy is playing a central role in the campaign. Yet, crime is also front and center in many campaigns around the country as candidates debate high crime rates, gun policy, bail reform and policing. Although crime is not one of the top issues Americans cite as the most important problem in the U.S., their belief that crime in their local area has risen in the past year has hit a new high in Gallup's trend.

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