new national crime victimization survey data show relative stability in violent crime rates, after significant declines over the previous decade. according to criminal victimization 2005, both personal (violent) and property crime rates have been halved between 1993 and 2005.

i quickly scanned the new bjs report for some bad news. well, i found an uptick in firearm violence from 1.4 to 1.9 per 1,000 between 2004 and 2005, but this is still way down from the rate of 5.9 per 1,000 in 1993. the picture for robbery is similar — a significant increase over the previous year, but at levels far below those of the mid-1990s. similarly, i could discern few scary negative trends when looking at subgroup patterns (e.g., breaking the data down by race, gender, class, urban residence, and region).

robbery and firearm violence could be ugly harbingers, of course, but the overall picture is one of short-term stability and long-term decline in criminal victimization. while such national trends obscure lots of local variation — i’d wager that victimization is up in many parts of my fair cities — the high-quality ncvs data are giving us no indication that aggregate crime rates are spiraling out of control.