FBI report: Connecticut has nation’s second-largest drop in violent crime in 2019

Violent crime in Connecticut declined by 12.5% between 2018 and 2019, the biggest drop in the country besides New Hampshire, according to data released by the FBI on Monday.

The agency’s Uniform Crime Reporting program contains information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies on violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, in addition to property crimes of burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The number of arrests in Connecticut is significantly lower this year compared to last.

Connecticut saw declines in all categories except for murder and non-negligent manslaughter, which rose by 20% between 2018 and 2019, with 104 cases reported in 2019.

The steepest drops were in burglaries and property crime, both of which were among the biggest reductions in the country.

The federal report does not contain information on crime during the pandemic. There is no uniformly maintained database on statewide crime that is updated in real time, but arrests and admissions to prisons and jails have been down significantly since the onset of COVID-19.

Michael P. Lawlor, former under secretary of criminal justice policy and planning under former Gov. Dannel Malloy and current associate professor at the University of New Haven, said the new data is the result of reforms passed in recent years to shrink the criminal justice system and reduce crime, including raising the age for being included in the adult criminal justice system. That meant that 16- and 17-year-olds were removed from the adult system, lowering penalties for drug possession and offering diversionary programs for people with mental health conditions.

“What you’re seeing is a combination of best practices that have been employed over the last 10 years, all of which were focused on reducing crime,” Lawlor said. “It is just the cumulative effect of all these evidence-based, data-driven reforms and practices and funding.”

Kelan Lyons: Kelan Lyons is a Report For America Corps Member who covers the intersection of mental health and criminal justice for CT Mirror. Before joining CT Mirror, Kelan was a staff writer for City Weekly, an alt weekly in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a courts reporter for The Bryan-College Station Eagle, in Texas. He is originally from Philadelphia.
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