crime & justice overview


Once the bane of US cities, crime today barely figures on the radar screen of American worries (on the site, not one poll on national priorities even mentions crime). But although forgotten, crime is not gone. Here we give a statistical snapshot of crime and the government's role in fighting it.

Crime rates

Rate of violent crimes and property crimes - since '73

source: DOJ and DOJ (Note: The FBI's Uniform Crime Report
shows similar trends, but its numbers slightly different. In particular, the FBI numbers show an increase in violent crime in 2005 and 2006.)


How much the government spends on crime fighting DOJ (pdf) (2003)

  • Total: $185 billion (1.7% of GDP)

  • By level of government

    • Federal: $35 billion (1.5% of the federal budget)

    • State: $66 billion (roughly 12% of state spending) NASBO

    • Local: $94 billion


source: DOJ

What that $185 billion is spent on DOJ:

  • Police: $83 billion

  • Courts: $42 billion

  • Corrections: $61 billion

spending over the years

source: BJS

Where the facts are from:

Other useful sources:

  • FBI's Uniform Crime Reports
  • Domestic violence:

    • The GAO tried to pull together comprehensive stats on domestic violence, but found that all the reports out there use different definitions/criteria. Instead GAO gives a comprehensive listing of the stats that are available - see page 49 here (pdf).

    • The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports on a steady decline in domestic violence over the past decade.

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