To check the Crime Map numbers, we looked at its four categories plus arson, assault, and larceny using the FBI Uniform Crime Report, focusing on the ten years from 2002 to 2011 (the 2012 report won't come out until this summer). They tell nearly the same story as the Observer's maps. Comparing the most recent five years from 2007-2011 to 2002-2006, burglaries fell 26 percent, robberies 27 percent, and vehicle theft and arson 44 percent each.
But Hieftje and Jones' prediction came true in 2012. Driven by big jumps in burglary and vehicle theft, the 2012 Crime Maps recorded 16 percent more crimes than in 2011, for a total of 841. Yet even after the increase, 2012's count was lower than in all but the last three of the previous twenty-six years.
In that long view, last year's 19 percent increase in burglaries might not seem very disturbing--2012's count is still the fifth lowest since 1986, undercut only by the years 2008-2011. Even the 56 percent increase in vehicle thefts seems less worrying knowing that 2011's total, seventy-eight, was the lowest in the twenty-seven years the Observer has tracked the crime. But long-term trends are no comfort to the 122 people whose vehicles were stolen last year or the 612 people whose homes were burglarized.