Rand Paul Links Criminal Justice & Urban Unrest

"Also criminal justice: We have, I think, a sort of undercurrent of unease in our cities that someone needs to address. And I think some of the anger is justifiable in the sense that people are angry about being rounded up and incarcerated for nonviolent things."

On May 27, 2015 while on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe"
Sources: Rand Paul YouTube, NewsMax (quoted slightly differently) 

The Context: Rand Paul brings up criminal justice and makes this point within a short list of issues he says it is “time to address.” Here, he acknowledges the growing concern (particularly in urban areas) over the extent to which specific communities are "rounded up" by law enforcement, while distinguishing between violent and nonviolent crime. He immediately follows this statement by citing the "war on drugs" as a specific example.

This distinction between types of crime is often overlooked in our generalized discussions of criminal justice, despite the influence crime rate statistics have on the debate. While the last year has brought several concerns regarding local policing to the fore, we still do not always differentiate "arrests made" from "crimes committed" nor do we necessarily acknowledge that not all crimes are equivalent or motivated by the same reasons. Still, in activities as diverse as political campaigning to choosing which candidate to support to home-buying, crime rates and local criminal justice in general can be significant factors in our decisions. Across the country, the rate of violent crime is substantially lower than the rate of property crime. (While both property and violent crimes may be drug-related, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics do not include drug-specific crimes.) With this in mind, we asked,

When we talk about crime rates across the country, what are the relative levels of property crime to violent crime? How different are these rates in cities?

An additional note: The map below is not intended to describe "safe" or "less safe" places. There are a variety of circumstances that contribute to crime rates, especially when those rates are based on the reporting of offenses. Thus, the map does not describe the crime rates of individual places, but rather the relative comparison of these different categories of crime. For more information on the dangers of using crime data to rank the safety of cities, see the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics website's "Caution against Ranking."