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Crime is down in the US. But which states benefited the most?

Crime rates dropped across the US by roughly 22 percent between 2004 and 2013, but the large decline didn't apply evenly to each state.

The data-focused Motovo Real Estate Blog compiled an animated map using FBI data to look at how every state's overall crime rate compared to the national average each year. The map shows which states did better or worse than the national average, not whether a state's actual crime rate rose or fell. (Almost all states saw a crime drop during this time.)

This map looks at each state's crime rate compared to the national average. (Motovo Real Estate)

Some states made big improvements relative to the rest of the nation. Arizona and Nevada were among the worst states for crime in 2004, but they dropped much closer to the national average by 2013. Much of the South improved over the 10 years analyzed.

Others didn't do so well. New Mexico got worse compared to the rest of the country, although its actual crime rate dropped between 2004 and 2013. Washington state, among others, performed poorly compared to the national average every year.

Local data would show even more variation. In New York, New York City's crime rate in 2013 was 2,314.8 per 100,000 people, while the rest of the state's rate was 2,115.4.

Since the FBI data is reported by local and state agencies with an obvious interest in presenting their jurisdictions as safe, there are some questions about the reliability of the stats provided. A 2012 investigation from the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, found FBI audits of crime data are infrequent and shallow. But the general sentiment that crime rates fell across the nation over the past couple decades is widely shared by criminal justice experts who have studied the issue.

Further reading: How California upended its war on drugs in 2014.

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