In his first major speech as head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Jeff Sessions cautioned the National Association of Attorneys General on Tuesday that the period of declining crime the nation has enjoyed for decades may be coming to an end.
To arrive at that conclusion, Sessions cited the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2015 Uniform Crime Report that found there were 10.8 percent more murders in the United States than the year prior. “I do not believe that this pop in crime, this increase in crime is necessarily an aberration, a one time blip,” Sessions said. “I’m afraid it represents the beginning of a trend.”
But when that report was released in September, data scientists warned that it’s impossible to draw a meaningful trend line between just two years of data. As Christopher Moraff reported in The Daily Beast, though the murder rate has been falling for more than 20 years, that doesn’t mean it actually fell every single year:
Indeed, despite isolated increases in violent crime over the past two years, five- and ten-year trend lines show that Americans are safer than they were a decade ago. The violent crime rate in 2015 was 0.7 percent lower than the 2011 level, and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level, according to the FBI.
Still, Tuesday’s speech made clear that Sessions’ DOJ will be tougher on both violent and drug-related crimes and friendlier to police than his predecessors.