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    Trends in Crime - A Comparison

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    1. Pick a city or town, Examine trends in criminal activity over the last three years. Analyze crime statistics for major/minor offense categories such as murder, robbery, rape etc. and create a table of the results. Graph the results showing trends for the various offenses. In addition, analyze the raw data and identify areas within your chosen location that go against the trend. For example, murder may be down across the city but may have risen in a particular neighborhood.

    Analyze whether this "across the board" reduction can be logically explained simply by "good police work". Does that make sense to you? Has every law enforcement agency in the nation become more effective over the same period at exactly the same time? What other factors must be considered?

    2. Analyze the data and look for increases in crime that do not reflect the generally downward trend. Identify two crimes that have either increased in number or have just simply not shown as dramatic a reduction as other areas have. Theorize as to why some crimes seem to buck the trend.

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    Solution Preview

    To start off, I thought it would probably be the easiest to look at a city and a college within that city (as all colleges are required to annually report their known crime rates). For this problem, I choose the City of Newark, Delaware and the University of Delaware (Newark Campus).

    Conveniently, both report the information in at least 3 years tables. You can find these tables/information at




    Since the University of Delaware (UD) only currently has 2002-2004 posted, let's use these 3 years as our comparison.

    Attached is a graph of the trends for homicide, robbery, rape, and auto theft within the City of Newark

    When comparing the 2 sets of trends (from the data tables on the websites) the only glaring difference is in the 2 is in rape and robbery.

    Rape at UD has an inverse relationship to rape in the City of Newark. UD goes low (2), higher (9), lower (8). While Newark goes from high (15), ...

    Solution Summary

    Comparison of crime rates for an area and the crime rates of a smaller section of that area. Comparing trends and understanding potential differences for problems that only exist in a small part of a town as compared to other sections of that same town.

    College town used in example due to information availability under the Clery Act.