FBI statistics released this week reported a mixed bag for Connecticut reflecting a national rise in homicides, a local spike in car thefts, and slight decline in violent crime while the nation as a whole experienced an increase.
Here’s a breakdown of Connecticut’s crime rates last year according to the FBI’s annual uniform crime report. All figures are represented as the rate per 100,000 people.
Violent crime: Connecticut’s overall violent crime rate declined by 1.6% in 2020 to 181.6. That’s less than half the national rate, which increased by 4.6% to 398.5.
Homicide: The rate of murders in Connecticut climbed by 30% in 2020 to 3.9 per 100,000 people. The growth over 2019 was slightly higher than the increase in the national average which grew by 27.4% but the state’s homicide rate remained significantly lower than the U.S. rate, which was 6.5. The last time Connecticut’s homicide rate reached 3.9 was 2006.
Motor vehicle theft: Rates of car theft were similar in both Connecticut (236.8) and the nation as a whole (246). However, Connecticut experienced a much sharper increase at nearly 41% while the U.S. rate grew by 11.4%.
Aggravated assault: Rates of aggravated assault declined by 1% in Connecticut to 103.8 while the national average grew by 11.7% to 279.7.
Rape: The rate of rapes declined by 25.1% in Connecticut to 16.7 per 100,000 people, less than half the national average which also declined by 11.9% at 38.4.
Property Crime: Rates of property offenses increased in Connecticut by 9.3% to 1,565.1 while they decreased nationwide by 8.1% to 1,958.2.
Robbery: Connecticut’s rate of robbery offenses climbed by 5% to 57.2 while the national average declined by 9.7% to 73.9.
The stats come amidst an ongoing debate over the state’s criminal justice policies driven by news of recent murders and other crimes. According to the New Haven Independent, the city has already surpassed this year the number of murders it experienced last year.
Many Republicans have for months pressed for legislative action to curb youth crime and car theft. Democrats, meanwhile, have largely argued that increases in state crime are symptoms of national trends rather than a reflection of policies adopted here.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said the FBI crime statistics showed that Connecticut had experienced a rise in murders and motor vehicle theft felt in the U.S. and around the world.
“Let’s not mistake the fact that Connecticut is still one of the safest states in the country. Our crime rate is well below that of the national average and that I think a lot of this is pandemic-related and you’ll see over the year, this time next year we should see all those numbers come back down again.”
In a Wednesday phone interview, House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said the FBI statistics supported the concerns Republicans had expressed. He compared the issue to the legislature’s vote this week to extend the governor’s emergency powers.
“I don’t care that it’s a national upward trend. We have an obligation to address it for the people in the state of Connecticut,” Candelora said. “Now [Democrats are] throwing up their hands on public safety and saying ‘It’s a national trend we don’t have to deal with it.’ There are unique problems in the state of Connecticut — in our statutes and the way we administer our laws that need to be fixed.”