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Gun Violence is down

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

It seems obvious if you've been paying attention. Gun violence is everywhere and at epidemic levels. at least that's what every Houstonian we asked said..

"I don't know.. it seems like you hear about it a lot more than you used to.. So it seems like it's up." said Lisa Johnson

When you try to tell people it's down, most don't believe you.

"Because there's just too much violence going on like way more than it was a couple of years ago." said precious Bradford.

But according to a study out by the Pew Research Center it's down dramatically. The center used stats from the Department of Justice and the CDC that show that since 1993 homicides are down 49%. Non-homicide gun crimes are down 75%. Yet 56%of all Americans think gun violence is actually up. Only 12 percent knew it had actually declined.

So what's driving the decline in violence? Stricter gun penalties? Lower drug use? Better economy? The study acknowledges there is no real consensus but U of H sociology professor Dr. Luis Salinas says the report says basically, we're getting older..

"The population 18-24, which is most prone to crime, both violent and property crime is getting to be a smaller and smaller share of the population."

So why do we think it's going up? There are a few possibilities. Dr Salinas says high profile mass shootings like Sandy Hook and the Colorado Movie theater shootings and well as a steady diet of crime coverage on the news may be skewing our reality.

"A lot of it is we get the impression that because these events occur that we think it's occurring at a greater extent than it actually is."

He says politicians are also playing on our fears.

The study shows that gun suicides remain higher than gun murders.

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