|By Bob Weaver|
In America, instant media outlets report crimes 24/7.
America gets a steady dose of violence, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks.
A 2013 Gallup Poll asked if crime had worsened from a year ago and 64% said it had.
But the fact is, crime in America is down, majorly down.
Violent crimes including murders, fell 4.4 percent in 2013 to their lowest number since the 1970s, continuing a decades-long downturn, according to the FBI.
The law enforcement agency's annual Crime in the United States report showed the country had an estimated 1.16 million violent crimes in 2013, the lowest number since 1.09 million were recorded in 1978.
All types of violent crimes were lower, with murder and non-negligent manslaughter off 4.4 percent to 14,196, the lowest figure since 1968.
Rape was down 6.3 percent and robbery fell 2.8 percent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation data showed.
West Virginians think the crime rate is up, essentially because of crime reports in metro areas like Charleston and Huntington, whose battle has been with drug addiction leading to crime, the drug traffickers having infiltrated the cities with a constant supply.
But in West Virginia, violent crime continues to go down.
James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston, said
"It's hard for criminals to do anything without being caught on video."
The violent crime rate last year was 367.9 for each 100,000 in population, down 5.1 percent from 2012.
The rate has fallen every year since at least 1994, the earliest year for readily accessible FBI data, and the 2013 figure was about half the 1994 rate.
Property crimes fell 4.1 percent to an estimated 8.63 million last year, the 11th straight yearly decline. Losses from property crimes excluding arson were calculated at $16.6 billion, the FBI said.
In an analysis, the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts said the drop in crime coincided with a decline in the prison population, with the number of U.S. prisoners down 6 percent in 2013 from its peak in 2008.
Thirty-two of the 50 states have seen a drop in crime rates as the rate of imprisonment fell, Pew said.
West Viginia's incarceration rate remains high, crimes linked to the abuse and addition to drugs, and efforts are now being made to offer alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders.
The state has been way behind in changing sentencing.
California notched the largest drop in imprisonment rate over the five-year period, at 15 percent, and crime was down 11 percent. The state has been under court order to reduce prison overcrowding, and voters approved an initiative that reduced sentences for some crimes.
Calhoun and most of West Virginia's rural counties are among the safest places to live in the USA.