The exact relationship between crime rates and other social phenomena is unclear. For example, no consistent link between crime rates and economic growth has been found. That said, demographic changes and high levels of drug use in the local community are often associated with an increase in crime rates. In contrast, greater accessibility to abortion has been proposed as a reason behind decreasing violent crime rates.
Murder is defined as the intentional act to kill and often includes the intention to cause great bodily harm, as one would realize the possibility of causing fatality. Generally, each state has its own classification for murders, commonly under first- and second-degree murder. The District of Columbia has experienced some of highest rates of murder in the United States with 16.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017. Murder victims are often slain by someone they know, such as a family member, neighbor, or friend. In 2017, the number of offenders who were acquaintances of the victim was double that of those who were a stranger to the victim.
Similarly, in many of the reported forcible rape cases, the victim often knows the offender. Victims of serious violent crime often experience socio-economic problems alongside emotional and physical symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The high number of offenders with relationships to their victims is worrisome given the prevalence of warnings about strangers and the activities of those outside of the common middle-class American household. Unfortunately, a degree of skepticism should be aimed at almost everyone, though blame on outside groups such as immigrants continues to be more politically profitable.
Crimes committed involving guns have also decreased in the United States. However, the number of robberies involving a firearm still accounts for a large proportion of the total figure. Many U.S. citizens are unaware of the drop in violent crimes being associated with a decrease in the accessibility of firearms. Gun ownership in the United States remains the highest in the developed world.