Federal data released last week shows a significant drop in violent crime rates in Arkansas. The figures, drawn from data submitted by law enforcement agencies throughout the state, indicate a decline in violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In 2022, the rate for these crimes was 645.3 incidents per 100,000 people, totaling 15,542 incidents. This marks a decrease from the previous year’s rate of 702.4 incidents per 100,000 people, which was the highest recorded in the state since 1985.
Col. Mike Hagar, director of the Arkansas State Police and state Secretary of Public Safety, attributes the decline in crime rates to a return to “Big Hat Law.” This approach emphasizes straightforward and unapologetic policing, aiming to regain the trust of citizens and foster collaboration between departments. Hagar believes that the focused efforts on violent crime and the adoption of an intentional action plan have contributed to the overall reduction in crime rates.
Despite the decline, Arkansas still surpasses the national average for violent crime rates. The national average, most recently recorded at 380.7 incidents per 100,000 people, has been exceeded by Arkansas since 2004.