(CNN Spanish) — President Joe Biden wants to see 100,000 police officers hired and trained over the next five years as part of his plan for a “safer America.”
But what is the situation in the United States? If the number of violent crimes, one of the many indicators associated with insecurity, is analyzed, it is not possible to give a single answer that accurately reflects what is happening in the 50 states and the city of Washington.
Following, using FBI statistics as a source, a territorial comparison is presented.
The city of Washington and Maine, at the ends of the table
The city of Washington (District of Columbia) is the territory that had the highest number of violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, according to the most recent available data from the FBI. Its crime rate is nearly 10 times that of the state with the fewest: Maine.
The category of violent crimes includes homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. These are crimes that involve the use of force or threats of force, according to the definition used by the FBI.
In the United States, the 2020 average was 398.5 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, a slight increase from 2019, when the figure was 380.8. In total, 23 states and the city of Washington were above that average in 2020. In the case of Washington, the figure was more than double: 999.8 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants were registered, that is, practically one crime per 100 inhabitants.
The city of Washington is followed by the states of Alaska, New Mexico, Tennessee and Arkansas, according to statistics from the law enforcement agency. The differences with respect to the US capital, however, are significant. In Alaska, for example, the 2020 record was 837.8 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.
At the other end of the table is Maine, where statistics indicate that there were 108.6 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in the year in which the covid-19 pandemic broke out. The second state with the fewest crimes was New Hampshire (146.4/100,000) followed by Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey.
What happens in California, Texas and Florida?
California and Texas, the two states with the largest populations in the United States, registered 442 and 446.5 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, which places them above the national average.
Florida, meanwhile, ranked below average with 383.6 crimes per 100,000 residents. It is, compared to the rest of the country, in the middle of the table, in position 26 out of a total of 51 territories.
California and Texas are worse off comparatively, occupying positions 35 and 36 out of a total of 51 in which number one corresponds to the state with the least amount of crimes and 51 to the one with the most.
In the three states, the variations were minor compared to the 2019 records.
Pandemic vs. Pre-pandemic: Is there a clear trend in crime in the United States?
An analysis of FBI data from the 50 states and the city of Washington allows us to affirm that in a vast majority of the surveyed territories, violent crimes increased in 2020 compared to 2019.
This is the case for the city of Washington and 31 states. In a total of 19 states, meanwhile, crime fell.
Even with the variations, the states at the top and bottom of the list remain the same when looking at 2019 data.
Biden’s proposal for a “safer America”
Biden traveled to Pennsylvania this week to promote his “Safer America Plan.”
Contrary to the vision of some Democrats and activists who have called for removing resources from the Police and redirecting them to other programs —under the slogan “defund the police” that grew after the death of George Floyd at the hands of agents in 2020— Biden said that “the answer is not to defund the police, but to fund them.”
“I’m tired of not giving the kind of help that you need. Folks, look, we’re in a situation in this country where we have to give you the extra resources that you need to do your job,” the president said, referring to police forces. .
The plan calls on Congress to appropriate more than $10 billion over five years to help fund the hiring and training of additional police officers. Its goal would be to add 100,000 agents in that period.
The weapon factor
The president also insisted in Pennsylvania on the need for a federal ban on assault rifles.
Statewide firearm death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show similarities and differences with those of the most violent crimes.
In 2020, for example, Mississippi was the state with the most gun deaths per 100,000 population. It registered a rate of 28.6. Louisiana, Wyoming, Missouri, Alabama, Alaska and New Mexico follow. These last two are also among the five with the most violent crimes.
At the other extreme are Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut as the states with the fewest gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2020. Hawaii, for example, had 3.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants according to the latest available record. This means that there were about 10 times fewer gun deaths than in Mississippi.
With information from Kate Sullivan of CNN.