Violence, Terrorism Trending Downward

World getting safer.


After the recent terror attacks in the United States and Western Europe, as well Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be easy to conclude that the world is becoming more dangerous. The politicians and media have contributed to our growing sense of unease. Donald Trump claims that crime is rising, while Hillary Clinton speaks of a gun violence epidemic. Both, as Nick Gillespie shows, are inaccurate. In reality, many kinds of violence have become less common.

In the United States, the homicide rate fluctuated between 6.2 and 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people between 1967 and 1998. The rate dropped below 6 per 100,000 in 1999 and below 5 per 100,000 in 2010. The U.S. homicide rate for 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, was 4.5 per 100,000—the lowest since 1963. That means that the U.S. homicide rate is now at a 51-year low! Trump and Clinton's should take note.

HumanProgress contains Global Terrorism Database for a period between 1970 and 2014. The data shows that terrorism killed more people in Western Europe in the 1970s and 1980s than in more recent decades. When estimates for 2015 and 2016* are added, a clear uptick in terrorism can be observed. That said, terrorism was clearly responsible for more deaths in Western Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. As horrible as the current terrorism uptick is, Western Europe has been through worse.

*Please note that the 2016 estimate does not include the most recent attacks.

Focusing on long-term trends rather than the media narrative and the pronouncements of our politicians is a far better way of assessing the true state of our security and crafting well-reasoned policy solutions.

NEXT: Brickbat: Rough Crowd

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  1. Computer models clearly show a warming trend of gun crime and the satellite data gives the feeling that terror levels are steadily rising. We need a small government Republican to swell the prison population and a science-loving Democrat to disarm the unworthy.

    1. Can we stop calling it terrorism already? We sound like such wimps.

      The war on people that hate our freedom?
      We can somehow work hate, USA, and some other ism’s in there and pacify the rest of the douchebags while we’re at it.

  2. 1. Not counting the Egyptian and Russian Air bombings in the Med? That’s another 290 dead putting us above most years in the 80s – in July.

    2. Rape is another form of intimidation and terrorism. How’s that trend looking in Western Europe?

  3. the U.S. homicide rate is now at a 51-year low

    because the U.S. population is now at a 51-year high, due in no small part to our relaxed immigration policies, DUH!

  4. These are not the terrorist attacks you are looking for.

    [[waives confirmation bias study]]

  5. Back in the seventies and eighties, most of the terrorists were Alinskyite communists like the Bader-Meinhoff Gang and Obama’s friend Bill Ayers, and of course you had all the problems in Ireland as well.

    I was around at the time, and while those guys were certainly awful, it never felt like there was any risk of those losers possibly bringing about World War III like there is with these radical Muslim throat-cutters.

  6. Add one more victim to the pile: Elderly priest, 86, is ‘beheaded’ by two ISIS knifemen shouting ‘Daesh’ after they took nuns and worshippers hostage at French church: And there might be another dead too. At least the cops killed the two hostage-takers. FTA:

    Priest had throat cut while another hostage is fighting for life after knifemen burst into Normandy church at 9am
    Reports that one of the attackers shouted ‘Daesh’ before launching the attach at Gambetta Church near Rouen
    Vatican has condemned the ‘barbaric’ killing of the 86-year-old priest and an anti-terror investigation is underway
    French President Francois Hollande said the men both ‘claimed to be from’ ISIS as they carried out the attack

    So, how many of these incidents are W. Europe going to have to have before the pogrom-wanters and boxcar-packers get in control?

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  8. You cannot ignore the fact that American cities are scarier places to be.

    People aren’t scared because they think homicide rates are up or that there are some religious psycho’s in Europe every day killing folks.

    People are scared because if you live in an urban area at all, there are more robberies and violent crime than in most of our life times due to a struggling economy and race fomenting pimps and presidents.

    Black lives matter is scary as hell and so are our politicians. We not scared because statistics are up, we are scared because the evidence of chaos is racking up. Unless you can prove the daily news in all cities is lying about the nightly reporting of violent crime.

  9. “the U.S. homicide rate is now at a 51-year low”

    This is a blatant, inexcusable falsehood. The author declares that data is only available through 2014.
    An accurate statement should read…

    “The US homicide rate in 2014 was at a 51-year low. We choose to only consider FBI statistics in our analysis and ignore other data that could help estimate rates in 2015 and the first half of 2016 because that would run the risk of diluting our conclusions.”

  10. I’ll accept the author’s claims that in the aggregate in the 70-80’s violence and “terrorism” were even higher than now.

    But if I were living in France then and now, I wonder what my thinking might be?

    Were there any Nice truck-drivers, night-club massacres, or deranged cartoon-critics then?

    Back then they used to call Beirut the Paris of the East.

    Now Paris looks more like Beirut.

    Not sure I’d be too sanguine about this supposed decrease in violence.

  11. terrorism is one big issue in front of all the world leaders they should have to come together as a one power against the terrorism this is happening because of the personal conflicts among the superpower nations . if they can aside their ego and become unite than there will be a great perishing against the terrorists and the terrorism Google play store apk

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