November 12th, 2012
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2011 was recently released and reveals that violent crime is on the decline for the fifth straight year. Overall, the number of violent crimes in the U.S. dropped 3.8 percent from 2010 to 2011 and the national murder rate dropped 1.5 percent. This promising news coincides with the declining use of the death penalty nationally.
The Death Penalty Information Center conducted an analysis of the FBI report and found that the Northeast region, which uses the death penalty the least of any of the four geographic regions of the U.S., had the lowest murder rate and actually experienced a 6.4 percent decrease in its murder rate in 2011, the largest drop of any region. In contrast, the South, which carries out the most executions, did see a small decrease in murders from 2010, but still had the highest murder rate in the country. The Midwest experienced a slight increase, while the murder rate in the West stayed about the same.
While four of the five states with the highest murder rates have the death penalty, and four of the five states with the lowest murder rates do not, studies like these only further discredit the argument that the death penalty acts as a deterrent.