Americans less likely to say crime is a national problem: Gallup

The percentage of Americans who say that crime is an extremely or very serious problem in the U.S. dropped to under 50 percent in 2018, the first time respondents have been below that threshold since 2005, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said that the problem of crime was extremely or very serious, a drop of 10 percent from last year and one of the sharpest decreases on record.

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The percentage of Americans who say crime is increasing nationwide remains high at 60 percent, but that number is an 8-point drop from 2017 and the lowest percentage since 2004, according to Gallup's survey.

When it comes to local crime, Americans are more optimistic. 42 percent of poll respondents said that crime was dropping in their area, compared to 39 percent who said that it was rising. This was the first year since 2001 that more Americans have said that crime was decreasing in their local area than increasing.

Nine percent of respondents said that crime was a very serious or extremely serious problem in their areas, the first time that rating has dropped into single digits since 2004, according to Gallup.

Crime rates have been decreasing nationally since the 1990s, but Americans' perception of nationwide crime has not always followed. Pessimism about nationwide crime peaked in 2009, when 79 percent said that crime was increasing despite a fourth year in a row of the FBI's violent crime rate dropping.a

Gallup's poll contacted 1,019 adults nationwide between Oct. 1-10. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.