What makes the arrest rate higher in some cities than it is in others? Police policy, often driven by city officials, may be one reason. When Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City, particularly in the 1990s, the police department arrested people for minor infractions. The belief was this would lead them to more serious criminals. The jury is still out on whether that worked. Another factor is local laws. Some cities have more laws on the books that lead to arrests. Yet another reason is whether police departments are overzealous, a charge that has been made in several large cities recently.
One thing that is certain about crime is that it has risen in almost every big city. Whether that has triggered more arrests is an open question. Some citizens have charged police departments with being lax, perhaps to keep themselves out of what they believe is a harsh light.
In 2019, the most recent year for which comprehensive statistics are available, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program reported 10,085,207 arrests nationwide. That works out to 3,011 arrests per 100,000 residents. Of that number, 495,871 were for violent crimes (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and 1,074,367 were for property-related crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson).
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the major American cities (those with populations over 200,000) that have seen the highest average number of arrests per capita from 2013 through 2019. Data is drawn from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program and reflects the number of arrests, not the number of people arrested (i.e., one person may be arrested several times). It does not reflect the number of prosecutions or convictions. Population data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
From this list, we were able to pick the city with the most arrests. That turned to be Tampa, Florida. Here are the details:
- Arrest rate, 2013 to 2019: 6,922 per 100,000 residents
- Avg. total annual arrests in that time: 26,052
- Violent crime rate in that time: 508.2 per 100,000 residents
Click here to see all the cities with the most arrests.
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