False maps have been shared through social media since the election comparing county-level election results to crime maps, but The Washington Post Fact Checker and Snopes.com determined that the implied relationship between voting patterns and crime was fallacious.

2016 Presidential election results

Republican

Democrat

2016 Presidential election results

Republican

Democrat

WA

ME

MT

ND

MN

OR

ID

SD

WI

NY

MI

WY

PA

IA

NE

NV

OH

IN

UT

IL

WV

CO

VA

KS

CA

KY

MO

NC

TN

NM

OK

SC

AZ

AR

MS

AL

GA

TX

LA

FL

HI

The question remains, though, what does the U.S. crime rate look like across the country on a county-size scale?

Counties across the South, the Pacific Northwest, California, New Mexico and the lower Mississippi River area show the highest rates of crime adjusted for population in 2014.

The overall crime rate includes reported incidents of violent and property crime, specifically murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson.  

To show crimes for counties with large and small populations, the rate is displayed as crime incidents per 1,000 people. Although the rate makes the view fairer, it is still subject to distortions, such as a one-time incident in a county with a small population.

Also, big cities have crimes involving people who travel in for work or entertainment, so a rate based on residential population is skewed.

Violent crime incidents

per 1,000 people in 2014

No data

1

2

4

6

8

Manhattan had a rate of just under six violent crimes per 1,000 people.

Northwest Arctic Burrough had only 49 reported violent crimes, but since the population is less than 3,300 people, the violent crime rate approached 15 incidents per 1,000 people, similar to that of the city of St. Louis.

Violent crime incidents per 1,000 people in 2014

No data

1

2

4

6

8

Manhattan had a rate of just under six violent crimes per 1,000 people.

WA

MT

ME

ND

VT

OR

MN

NH

ID

SD

WI

MI

MA

NY

WY

Chicago

PA

New York

NE

IA

OH

IN

IL

NV

UT

CO

KS

WV

VA

CA

MO

KY

NC

TN

AZ

Los Angeles

OK

NM

Memphis

SC

AR

GA

MS

AL

LA

TX

AK

Houston

FL

HI

Northwest Arctic Burrough had only 49 reported violent crimes, but since the population is less than 3,300 people, the violent crime rate approached 15 incidents per 1,000 people, similar to that of the city of St. Louis.

Violent crime incidents per 1,000 people in 2014

No data

1

2

4

6

8

Manhattan had a rate of just under six violent crimes per 1,000 people.

WA

MT

ME

ND

OR

MN

ID

SD

WI

MI

NY

WY

Chicago

PA

NE

IA

New York

OH

IN

IL

NV

UT

CO

KS

WV

VA

CA

MO

KY

NC

TN

AZ

OK

NM

Memphis

Los Angeles

SC

AR

GA

MS

AL

LA

TX

AK

FL

Houston

HI

Northwest Arctic Burrough had only 49 reported violent crimes, but since the population is less than 3,300 people, the violent crime rate approached 15 incidents per 1,000 people, similar to that of the city of St. Louis.

The violent crime map shows clusters of counties with high rates in South Carolina, Florida, the Memphis area and New Mexico. Several of the clusters are in rural areas where a small number of crimes may generate a relatively high crime rate because there are few people living there.

The latest data available is from 2014. Reported crime rates for some large cities have gone up over the past two years.

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data generates the county-level crime summaries from FBI data that is reported by police agencies.  In rural areas, a county may have one police agency. But large urban counties may have several cities with their own police departments, as well as county-wide agencies. And statewide police agencies may also handle reported crimes. The NACJD adjusts the data for agencies that only report for part of the year and distributes incidents from statewide agencies to local counties by population.

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