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Majority of Americans Strongly Worried About Crime, Poll Finds

For the first time since 2016, a majority of Americans (53 percent) say they personally worry a “great deal” about crime, a new Gallup poll found. Another 27 percent worry about crime a “fair amount,” which lands the issue near the top of a list of national concerns, behind only inflation and the economy and on par with hunger and homelessness.

The latest poll—collected between 1-18 March—is in line with similar findings from late 2021 that showed increased anxiety from Americans about crime. In November 2021, Gallup reported that crime anxiety was back in full force after a dip during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Americans reported that cybercrime was the most worrying for them, with more than 70 percent citing that they worry at least occasionally about computer hacking or identity theft. Comparatively, between 30 and 43 percent worry at least occasionally about their car being stolen, their home being burglarized, their child being harmed at school, or getting mugged. Fear of being assaulted or killed by a coworker while on the job was the least worried about.

Location matters in crime perception, the March 2022 survey found. City residents (58 percent) registered a higher level of worry than suburban (46 percent) and rural (51 percent) residents, and city dwellers’ worry has increased nine percentage points since 2021. According to Gallup, this likely reflects the record-high homicide rates in many U.S. cities last year.

The Council on Criminal Justice found that homicides in major American cities climbed 5 percent in 2021 over 2020, and 44 percent over 2019. The study evaluated crime data from 22 U.S. cities and found an additional 218 murders in 2021 compared to 2020.

“Experts believe pandemic pressures and changes in policing tactics have contributed to the uptick in homicides,” CBS News reported. Researchers suggested that the increased availability of legal and illegal firearms also played a role in the increased rate of homicides.