Call Today for a FREE Consultation

262-923-8761

24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

Is the US murder rate really the highest it has been in decades?

| Nov 7, 2016 | Criminal Defense

We can probably all agree that this election season has been pretty light on hard facts. For example, it appears that some Americans have the misimpression that murder is currently at its highest rate in 45 years. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Why does that matter to a criminal defense attorney? Because when people feel that crime is rampant or rising, they tend to want to crack down on criminals. That affects the issues pundits discuss and how they get discussed. It affects what kinds of candidates run for office and how they talk about public safety. Our sense of personal safety affects how we view the world — and how judges and juries see the world.

According to the FBI, the murder rate has been dropping steadily for decades

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program has been providing reliable, uniform crime statistics nationwide since 1930. Law enforcement from across the country report both local and federal crimes to the UCR, allowing it to provide accurate statistics to the government and the American people.

According to the latest (2014) figures published by the UCR, between 1995 and 2014 the murder rate has dropped almost every year. Moreover, even when the rate remained steady or rose slightly from year to year, the long-term trend was still a sharp decline.

The fact that the murder rate continues to trend downward even when annual rates spike is important to understand. Some people have become concerned that the substantial jump in the murder rate we saw in 2015 might indicate the long, downward trend may be reversing.

That 2015 spike is real, and it does appear to be continuing in major cities this year, according to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker. Overall, however, the FBI expects this year’s murder rate to plot right along that long-term downward trajectory in place since the mid 1990s.

Criminal justice experts caution that small jumps in the annual rate can be misleading. A short-term uptick may look like the beginning of a new trend, but a longer-term sample is needed in order to tell if that trend is actually real. The experts say a five-, 10- or even 20-year period may be needed in order to see the full picture.

So what is the full picture? No cause for alarm. The 2014 homicide rate in the U.S. was a bit more than half of what the rate from 20 years earlier. While we certainly have too many murders in the U.S., today’s homicide rate — comparatively — is not especially high and does not appear to be growing.

Archives

“I just want to say thank you for the outstanding work you have done for him and let you know how much we appreciate the time and attention you gave to his case. We are obviously overjoyed by today’s dismissal!” (Child pornography case dismissed after motion to suppress was granted)”

“After having had time to exhale, we thank each one of you and all the others who contributed to the exemplary Supreme Court presentation. We are proud of your efforts on our behalf and, equally important, on behalf of the many present and future defendants statewide.” (Client’s comment after Supreme Court oral argument)

“Thank you. Thank you. I am so pleased to hear that we won. It doesn’t seem that it was even a close call. I appreciate your efforts.” (Oconto County defendant after Buting, Williams & Stilling got his prison sentence overturned in the court of appeals) ”

“Your time and advice was appreciated more than words can express at a time when we really needed someone to guide us.” (Client)

“The outcome was amazing, one unavailable even under identical circumstances in probably 98 percent of federal courtrooms around the country. Separate and apart from the outcome, though, I am supremely impressed by your efforts on your client’s behalf. Your comments in support of the requested sentence were perfect in tone and, having now reviewed the extensive sentencing memorandum you filed, your work in that regard was exemplary as well. Your client was certainly fortunate to have you as his attorney.” (Local federal court attorney present at a sentencing)

“I can’t thank you enough, not only for all of the tireless work that you and your staff put into my case, but for telling me what I needed to hear, at a time when I absolutely had to hear it. I consider myself blessed for everything turning out the way it did, especially since I blindly picked you out of a phone book! You helped me, my family and friends in many more ways than the money ever could.” (Child pornography client)

“I think you will find that in any circles where Kathy’s name is raised, people will always respond positively and identify her as an extremely hardworking, knowledgeable and ethical lawyer who is timely and effective with any endeavor she takes on. These circles would include colleagues, friends, prosecutors, judges, professors and others who have crossed paths with Kathy. They would also include the many lawyers like me who have referred numerous cases to Kathy, invariably with positive feedback from the clients regarding her knowledge of their case, empathy, professionalism and fair-mindedness in addressing their concerns.” (Fellow attorney)

“Thank you for giving [our son] back to us. Wonderful work!” (Family of client accused of armed robbery after charges were dismissed)

“Yes, His perfect time and perfect place, you were a part of this plan. I almost didn’t hire you, but I took a step of faith trusting Him and look what happened? Praise God. Our Lord put you in your vocation for a reason, continue to help those He brings your way. May He bless you in ALL you do!” (Client who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in a northwestern Wisconsin county. He was released from prison after attorneys got his conviction reversed.)

“I really cannot thank you enough for your past help. You really know your stuff. It is actually funny when I think about my other past attorney’s knowledge and then when I talk with you. It’s like night and day. You’re like a walking book of knowledge with a purpose-driven life. Thanks.” (Brown County client of attorney Buting)

“A year later and I still believe your defense is the single best example of lawyering I have ever seen.” (Television reporter commenting on attorney Buting’s defense of Steven Avery)

“You have a certain brilliance that makes me sure that when you talk, it is good information and I am in good hands. You tell it to me like it is even when the things you say are not always the things that I would like to hear. You keep it REAL!!!” (Brown County client)

“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel like this was one of the biggest blessings that happened in my life. I put this along with my children being born healthy and when I survived that horrific shooting. I appreciate everything you have done for me. I couldn’t ask for better lawyers. I want to say thank you to everybody at your firm. I owe you more than the fee you so rightfully deserve. … You gave me back hope. Thank you, man! Out of my 36 years … I have never seen such kindness before. I don’t know what I did to deserve this; I’m very thankful nonetheless. Thank you for giving me hope again. Thank you for your generosity. There are still some really good people around.” (Federal criminal appeal client)

“There is no other attorney I’ve ever even heard of I’d rather have as chief counsel and leader of my defense/appeals than Jerome Buting. You’re the best. Period.” (Dane County client)

“Your advice and counsel were greatly appreciated. We appreciate you taking the time on your Sunday and evenings to help us. We are SO happy about the results! Thanks again.” (Waukesha County client)

“Thank you again … for everything. Five and one-half years of commitment, so many ups and downs and an outcome like that. You did a GREAT job.” (Waukesha County felony drug offense client)