FBI’s Annual Crime Report May Demonstrate Political Maneuvering

by Shealeigh

In an October 2023 article, The Appeal highlighted the FBI’s latest annual report on crime in the United States for 2022. Author Ethan Corey discusses how although crime rates are on a steady decline, the message from corporate media is quite the opposite, with headlines such as “The most dangerous cities in America” and “Violent crime decreases to pre-pandemic levels, but property crime is on the rise.” Such attention-grabbing articles don’t reflect what is truly happening.

Corey deftly explains how incomplete FBI crime data really is, with sexual assault, organized crime, and white-collar crime being chronically ignored, and nearly a third of police agencies never reporting any data at all. Police chiefs want to emphasize street-level crimes because that’s how they justify their budgets; therefore, the FBI crime data emphasizes these crimes above all others. 

Other topics in the article include how little vetting for accuracy actually occurs, and how often the numbers have been systemically manipulated to hide the truth—so often, and in so many jurisdictions, that the problem appears pervasive.

While the FBI’s crime data can’t be ignored, a crime story based only on that one source would be untrustworthy on its face. To help reporters, activists, and all citizens, The Appeal also provides a helpful list of ways to use the data responsibly and thoughtfully.

Corporate media, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, have covered FBI’s 2022 crime data but have not examined possible data manipulation and other discrepancies. This single article is a valuable corrective to the invalid notions millions of Americans have about crime in their nation, notions propagated by career police and their political allies.

Source: Ethan Corey, “FBI Crime Data for 2022 is Out. Here’s What You Need To Know,” The Appeal, October 16, 2023.

Student Researcher: Quinlan Stacy (Frostburg State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Andy Duncan (Frostburg State University)