Letter Submitted to USA Today: Responding to “FBI data shows America is seeing a ‘considerable’ drop in crime. Trump says the opposite.”

May 12, 2024 | op-ed

When USA Today had two articles claiming that Trump was wrong in claiming that crime was increasing, Dr. John Lott submitted the following letter to the editor, but the newspaper didn’t run the letter.

Dear Letters Editor:

USA Today erroneously dismisses former President Trump’s claim violent crime is rising (“FBI data shows America is seeing a ‘considerable’ drop in crime. Trump says the opposite,” April 30 and “Will Trump back abortion bans?” April 30). Reported crime, as counted by the FBI, has fallen since 2020, but total crime (reported and unreported) has soared according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Between 2021 and 2022 (the last year with data available), the NCVS showed a 42% increase. The FBI data showed a 2% drop.

Since 2020, these two measures have gone in opposite directions because law enforcement has collapsed. In cities with over a million people, arrest rates for violent crime averaged 44% during the five years before COVID, but plummeted to just 20% in 2022. That’s a drop of more than 50%, and it means that crime is going unpunished.

As arrest rates plunged, crime soared, and some people realized police wouldn’t catch the criminals, so they stopped reporting the crimes.

USA Today correctly points out the murder rate fell by 13% in 2023, according to FBI numbers. However, the rate was still 7% above what it was in 2019.


John R. Lott, Jr.

Lott served as senior adviser for research and statistics in the Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department. He is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.



  1. George Crocker

    USA Today didn’t print it because it goes against their narrative. They don’t want the truth they want something that will sell their ‘narrative”. Thanks for trying, anyway, Dr. Lott.


    • johnrlott

      Thank you.

  2. Mark Holman

    Dear Dr. Lott,

    You couldn’t have been more clear and concise in your letter to the editor.
    Very well written and easy to understand.
    Thank you for ALL you do!

    • johnrlott

      Mark, thank you very much.