The 21st Show

Best of: The crime rate is continually falling. So why do people think it’s rising?


Capitol News Illinois

Despite government data indicating a significant drop in violent crime rates, public perception often leans towards the belief that crime is escalating. David E. Olson, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Loyola University Chicago and Co-Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice, discusses this paradox on The 21st.

Olson's comprehensive work in the field, encompassing over 35 years of experience with both academic and practical applications, positions him as a leading voice in understanding the dynamics between actual crime statistics and public opinion. His engagement with a variety of federal, state, and local agencies to develop and evaluate criminal justice programs and policies underscores the complexity of aligning public perceptions with empirical data. Olson's insights into why the declining trends in violent crime don't always resonate with the public reflect his deep involvement in the field and his commitment to bridging the gap between reality and perception​.

David E. Olson, Ph.D. 

Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology
Co-Director, Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice
Loyola University Chicago

A version of this conversation was first broadcast January 17, 2024.