The Economist recently ran an story entitled The Curious Case of the Fall in Crime, which discusses some of the reasons why crime has fallen in the West over the last couple of decades. The BBC featured a similar article specifically about the British case. But by how much has crime actually decreased? Here, I present three charts which depict, respectively, the change in the homicide rate, the theft rate, and the robbery rate in a number of Western countries since 1995. Data are from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
Looking just at these three metrics, the drop in crime is quite impressive. Homicide has fallen by 20-50%, theft by 10-50%, and robbery by a similar amount. The only outlier here is Italy, which appears to have experienced a considerable increase in robbery, beginning in the early 2000s. (Part of this increase may be due to a some kind of change in the definition of 'robbery' under Italian law.)