Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Violence spikes in Springfield at end of 2012

The belief in Springfield that crime is getting worse correlates with a general view among Americans that crime is increasing in the U.S., said Ryan Williams, a criminologist at University of Illinois Springfield.

In reality, he said, crime across the country has declined in the past decade. In 2010, for example, the murder rate was at its lowest point in 20 years, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Williams said.

Despite the drop, he said, Gallup polls each year typically show about 70 percent of the population believes crime went up from the year before. Watching local TV is a major contributor to people’s increased fears, Williams said.

In the case of Springfield, he said, the type of crimes has also been a factor.

“The shootings that are routine might not necessarily be front-page news,” Williams said. “The more exciting stories give us a shake and scare us.”

Williams was featured by the State Journal-Register on January 2, 2013.

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