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The United States’ Crime Clock

Clarkston Legal Jan. 22, 2012

I would not trade living in an open Democratic society for anything. Ours is a government of laws where personal liberties are ingrained into the societal fabric as rights.

Freedom comes at a price, however. One component of our Democratic society is the constant tension and interplay between our freedoms and the enforcement of our laws.

One of the costs we all pay at the national, state and local levels is the cost of enforcing our criminal laws. Some of us pay directly as crime victims; the rest of us pay indirectly in maintaining the much-needed law enforcement apparatus and court system.

Still others among us jack-up the costs of freedom by committing crimes. On a national level, the modern crime rate is truly shocking.

Here is a look at the crime rate in the United States according to U. S. Department of Justice:

Homicide. One person is murdered in the US every 31 minutes.

Rape. One person is raped or sexually assaulted every 2.7 minutes.

Assault. An assault occurs every 7.2 seconds.

Theft. A person is a victim of theft in the US every 2.3 seconds.

Burglary. A home is burglarized somewhere in the US every 9.1 seconds.

Domestic Violence. One woman is victimized by an intimate partner every 1.3 minutes; One man is similarly victimized by an intimate partner every 6.7 minutes.

Child Abuse and Neglect. One child is reported abused or neglected every 35 seconds.

Elder Abuse. An elderly person is victimized every 2.7 minutes.

Hate Crimes. Someone reports a hate crime to the police every 73 minutes.

Drunk Driving. A driver is killed in an alcohol-related highway accident every 29 minutes.

Identity Theft. Someone’s identity is stolen in the US every 8.7 seconds.

Policing for these crimes; charging the crimes; hiring law enforcement and prosecutors; appointing lawyers; and allocating judicial resources for the prosecution, supervision and, in some cases, incarceration is a gigantic portion of our public budget.

Here in Michigan, the Department of Corrections is among the largest bureaucracies in the state government. We routinely keep legions of our citizens behind bars.

Somehow, we need to figure out, as a free society, how to reduce this population and cut these costs.