Two of the most under reported stories about America are the increase in the number of people doing volunteer work and the dramatic drop in the crime rate since 1974.
Just about everybody I talk to thinks there is more crime and people don’t help each other “like they use to”.
I don’t know why so many have this tendency to believe the worst. One reason may be that stories about crime sell newspapers and get the big ratings on TV. I also think that most people only read stories that reinforce their own view of the world. I am gulity of that, which is why I take the time to research the “facts” on important issues.
I’ll bet the first newspapers were full of stories about crime and gossip. I’ll be the first cavemen complained about their children and thought the world was falling apart.
1) A Bureau of Justice report shows the rate of violent crimes fell from 47.7, per 1,000 population, in 1973 to 21.0 in 2005. That’s a 55% drop in just twenty-two years. There was a corresponding drop in every catergory, rape 2.5 to .5, robbery 6.7 to 2.6, aggravated assuault 12.5 to 4.3. There was also a drop in the murder rate which not over .1 percent during the period.
2) A report from the National Community Service site indicated that the percentage of Americans doing volunteer work has reached a 30 year high.
From the report:
“The adult volunteer rate declined between 1974 and 1989 (22.6 to 20.4) but rebounded to a new high today (27%).”
“The growth in volunteering has been driven primarily by three age groups: older teens (16 to 19); mid life adults (45 to 64) and older adults (65 and over).”
“Volunteering that takes place through an educational or youth group had the largest increase between 1989 and today, 15.1 to 24.6.”
“The proportion of Americans volunteering through religious organizations decreased slightly from 37.4 to 35.5%”. It should be noted that religious groups still make up the largest proportion of volunteers.
“The proportion of American volunteers serving through civic, political, professional and international organizations dropped substantially from 13.2 to 6.8.”
For anyone interested in volunteering a good site is
So America is becoming a safer place and the number of people doing volunteer work, especially teenagers, has risen significantly.
Oh well, I guess I’ll have to stay in my lonely world of optimism. I’ll let the rest of you guys do the complaining. 🙂