I’ve noted before (see here and here) that perceptions of crime do not match the actual falling numbers. Here is more good news on the crime front: homicide has dropped off the list of the United State’s top 15 causes of death.
For the first time in almost half a century, homicide has fallen off the list of the nation’s top 15 causes of death, bumped by a lung illness that often develops in elderly people who have choked on their food.
The 2010 list, released by the government Wednesday, reflects at least two major trends: Murders are down, and deaths from certain diseases are on the rise as the population ages, health authorities said…
This is the first time since 1965 that homicide failed to make the list, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
Murders have been declining nationally since 2006, according to FBI statistics. Falling homicide rates have been celebrated in several major cities, including New York City, Detroit and Washington.
To play a contrarian for a moment, perhaps things still aren’t great: there are still a lot of murders happening (there were still just over 16,000 in 2010 and homicide is still #16 on the list); perhaps the drop homicide from this list is more of a function of other diseases claiming more lives; and perhaps we wouldn’t usually think of murder as being a top killer (it is far away from the figures for heart disease and malignant neoplasms).
At the same time, this is good news as the number of murders dropped. Yet, Americans might perceive that they are more at risk from violent attacks than some of the leading causes of death. While the media might report on the drop in violent crime, the overall story still seems to be that crime happens frequently and could happen to you.