Cities Where Violent Crime Is Plummeting

10. Salisbury, MD
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -237
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 906.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 669.7
> Murders per 100,000: 9

In 2005, the Salisbury, Maryland area had the 12th highest violent crime rate in the country. At a rate of 906.4 for every 100,000 residents it was nearly double the national rate of 469.3. By 2010, however, the region’s rate had dropped 38% to 669 violent crimes per 100,00 people. This was still much higher than the national average, and the murder rate actually went up over that time, but a substantial decline in the number of robberies and assaults represented a positive sign for the crime-ridden region. According to the Baltimore Sun, state Governor Martin O’Malley announced that year a $156,000 grant to Salisbury to start the second Safe Streets program in the state. The program had shown apparent benefits in Annapolis.

9. Savannah, GA
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -240.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 582.9
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 342.5
> Murders per 100,000: 6.5

The metro region of Savannah, Georgia had a violent crime rate of 582.9 per 100,000 residents in 2005, which was well above the national rate, and the second-highest rate in the state. In 2010, that number had dropped 41% to 342.5, putting it below the national average of 403.6. In that time, the rate of robberies dropped 37%, and the rate of aggravated assault dropped 42%. In a 2009 speech elaborating on his stimulus package, president Obama named Savannah as a target area for Justice Assistance Grant, or “JAG” funds. The president said:  “Savannah, Georgia Police Department would use the Byrne JAG funds for crime and intelligence analysts. The stimulus funding would also be targeted for juvenile prevention and intervention efforts in Savannah. The department intends to bridge the school resource and community gaps by adding police officers specifically to work with the schools and communities.”

8. Gainesville, FL
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -244
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 867.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 623.4
> Murders per 100,000: 5.9

In 2005, the Gainesville, Florida metro region’s violent crime rate of 867.4 incidents for every 100,000 residents was the 15th highest in the country. In 2007, after the city reported another disappointing increase in violent crime, a task force was started to deal specifically with that problem, according to the Gainesville Sun. It appears to have helped. By 2010, the violent crime rate had dropped 28% to 623.4, although it is still well above the U.S. average rate. In the city of Gainesville, things did not actually improve much and there were actually 31 more robberies in 2010 than in 2005. However, outside the city limits robberies declined and there were 372 fewer cases of aggravated assault.

7. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -249.7
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 749.7
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 500
> Murders per 100,000: 4.3

Between 2005 and 2010, much of the state of Florida had a massive increase in unemployment. The Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area was no exception, with the unemployment rate in the area rising from 3.9% to 12.1%. This substantial increase in joblessness appeared to have little impact on violent crime, which declined 33% from 749.7 crimes per 100,000 people to 500 — above but relatively close to the national average. The metro area went from having the 19th highest violent crime rate in the country to 75th highest. According to the St. Petersburg Times, in Ybor city, a historic Tampa neighborhood with a high number of bars and clubs, the rate has dropped 84% since 2001.

6. Jackson, TN
> 5-year decrease in violent crime rate: -333.6
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2005): 989
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 655.4
> Murders per 100,000: 4.4

In 2005, the Jackson, Tennessee metro region, which includes Chester and Madison counties, had the seventh-highest violent crime rate in the country. By 2010, that rate had declined 33.7%, from 989 to 655.4 per 100,000 residents. In that same period, the rate of robberies declined more than 20% and the aggravated assault rate dropped 36%. While we did not consider non-violent crime for our discussion, it is worth noting that the rate of property crime, which includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft, dropped 16% in the same six-year interval.

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