Let's begin with some statistics.
- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) records that the Americas (North, Central and South combined) lead in murder rate by region (16.3 per 100,000); Asia holds the lowest rate (2.9 per 100,000). If you compare by countries, the U.S. itself is 93rd (though the list does note 14 countries where there is war or significant civil unrest). According to NationMaster, the United States is 10th in firearm deaths (though 2002 is the last year for which they have posted data).
- In a list of the top 50 most violent cities (population of over 300,000, not in a combat zone, and who actually submitted data), the U.S. contributes four: New Orleans (32nd), Detroit (28th) Baltimore (19th), and St. Louis (15th).
- Safearound.com lists the United States as 55th out of 160 countries in their safety index. Other lists aren't so generous, ranking our overall crime index the Unites States is 35th. The United States is not unusually more prone to crime in general than other developed countries, according to a study out of of the University of California, Berkeley. Violent crime in American is simply more lethal because, well, guns.
- We have had a 40% drop in homicide rates in the past 15 years. In the early 2010’s we were lower than only one other time in U.S. history (the late 1950’s). For some reasons, 1990 to 1997 were bad, and violent crime overall increased in both 2015 and 2016. Still, “The five-year and 10-year trends show an increase from 2012 (up 2.6 percent) and a decrease from 2007 (down 12.3 percent).” Why the fluctuation? Speculation abounds: longer prison sentences, economic changes, a cultural shift away from violence, an influx of immigrants (which, contrary to popular belief, usually correlates with a drop in violence and crime), and birthrates (the more 18-25 year olds, the more crime).