Here’s what’s going on.

Did violent crime go up in the US in 2016? Here’s a fun answer: Nearly a full year later, we still don’t really know.

On one hand, you have data from the FBI, released earlier this year. It found that the violent crime rate, including murder, rape, and robbery, did indeed go up by more than 3 percent from 2015 to 2016. This was the second year in a row of an increase above 3 percent, according to the FBI data.

On the other hand, you have data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, released on Thursday. Methodological changes in collecting that data include surveying different counties than previous years to keep up with population shifts. But researchers managed to compare the counties that remained in the survey from 2015 to 2016 — finding no significant increase in the violent victimization rate. That’s shown by the dashed red line in the following chart (while the dotted black line shows the data that includes new counties, which is not comparable to previous years since it’s measuring different places).

A chart showing the violent crime victimization rate in recent years.Bureau of Justice Statistics

Violent crime has, in general, been on the decline for decades. But President Donald Trump has taken to falsely claiming that the murder rate is at a 45-year high, and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has similarly warned of rising violent crime to push for punitive “tough on crime” policies. Yet it’s not clear if there even was a violent crime increase in 2016, much less if the decades-long decline in violent crime is now truly on the reverse.

So what the hell is going on here? Which data can we trust? Well, it’s Read More Here