Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 307–324 | Cite as

Do US City Crime Rates Follow a National Trend? The Influence of Nationwide Conditions on Local Crime Patterns

  • David McDowallEmail author
  • Colin Loftin
Original Paper


This study considers the degree to which the crime rates of US cities follow a uniform national trend. A nationwide trend has consequences for theories that explain aggregate changes in crime, but how closely subnational units hold to a common time path has received almost no research attention. Using annual panel data, the current study presents analyses that attempt to measure the correspondence between city-level and national-level crime rates. The results of each analysis are consistent with a clear single pattern that operates across the nation’s major urban areas. This supports the idea that a meaningful national trend exists, and it suggests the desirability of continuing efforts to explain it.


Crime trends National crime rate Time series analysis 



We would like to thank Jim Lynch and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on a previous version.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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