Fear of Crime Reaches the Highest Level in Three Decades.

Urban and poor Americans report the highest levels of fear.

Escalating crime fears signal a pivotal shift in Americans’ security outlook.

WHY IT MATTERS – Crime could be a decisive issue in the 2024 election.

THE NUMBERS – In Gallup’s annual Crime poll from Oct. 2-23, Americans were surveyed about their personal safety and fear of falling victim to specific crimes. The survey measured Americans’ apprehension and integrated insights from an Oct. 4-16 Gallup Panel that explored how the fear of crime or violence may deter Americans from their daily activities.

In 2023, 40% of Americans feared for their safety when alone at night within a mile of home. Historical data reveals the following trends:

  • 2020 – 29%, a record-low in the first year of the pandemic
  • 1993 – 43%, amid one of the worst U.S. crime waves
  • 1982 – 48%, a high-crime period with a notably high New York murder rate

Fear of crime based on residents’ areas:

  • 49% – annual income of less than $40,000
  • 39% – annual income between $40,000 to $99,999
  • 31% – annual income of $100,000 or more

Fear of crime based on location:

  • 50% – cities
  • 39% – suburbs
  • 30% – town/rural areas

There was a sharp rise in frequent or occasional fear of falling victim to four specific crimes, surpassing pre-pandemic levels:

  • 50% – Car Theft (+16 %)
  • 37% – Robbery (+13%)
  • 32% – Assault while driving (+9%)
  • 28% – Murder (+11%)

Identity theft consistently remains the top crime concern for U.S. adults, with 72% expressing frequent or occasional fear.

Fear of crime or violence has prevented Americans from doing the following:

  • 34% avoid driving through certain areas of their town or city.
  • 31% avoid walking, jogging, or running alone.
  • 28% avoid attending concerts and other crowded events.
  • 28% avoid talking to strangers.
  • 17% avoid shopping malls.

THE BOTTOM LINE – Amid today’s uncertainties, a clear reality persists—Americans do not feel safe.

GO DEEPER – Personal Safety Fears at Three-Decade High in U.S.