Utahns Concerned Despite Falling Crime Rates | KUER 90.1

Utahns Concerned Despite Falling Crime Rates

Aug 3, 2016

A survey by the nonprofit Utah Foundation found that most voters in the state are highly concerned about crime. Shawn Tiegen is a researcher with the Utah Foundation. He says half of respondents said they were more concerned about crime now than they were 5 years ago.

“If you look at the past 20 years, you can see that both nationally and in Utah, violent and property crime are decreasing,” Tiegen says.

FBI data shows that violent crime in Utah has dropped by 34 percent since 1995 and property crime was down 50 percent. Utah also has one of the lowest rates of drug use in the country.

However, rape and homicide rates spiked in 2014, which is the last year with available data. Tiegen says there’s likely another reason why people are concerned about crime and public safety:

“All of the activity around police shootings in the past two years” puts  crime and violence at the forefront of peoples’ minds, says Tiegen. “And they also think about these active shooter situations that get a ton of media, and it’s very disconcerting.”  

But Tiegen says state policymakers are continuing to address the situation, citing examples such as a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill signed into law last year which promotes treatment programs and prioritizes prison space for violent offenders.