How common do you think violent crimes are? Would you say you were safer when you were a child than you are today? What about last year?

These are important questions to ask, and people typically feel, perhaps through some combination of nostalgia and ignorance, that they were safer in the past. Gallup polls have found this to be true year after year. However, for many people, the opposite is really true.

St. Louis

St. Louis is often thought of as a dangerous place with a high crime rate, so it makes for a good example of trends you can find on a national scale. If you thought it was dangerous in the last five years, you should know that the actual peak in violent crime was in 1993 -- more than two decades ago. The stats in 2013 were actually lower than the stats from 1985. If anything, St. Louis residents are safer now than they've been for most of their lives.

National Crime

Maybe you don't live in St. Louis, so you think it's a fluke. Or perhaps you think the problem is the city's reputation, that stats just show that people aren't paying attention to the real crime rates in one area, when they reamin high in other places.

National crime rates show that's not true, either. The highest the national rate ever got was in 1991, a full two years before St. Louis peaked. Since then, property crime has fallen off by 43 percent. Violent crime has dropped off a cliff, falling by an incredible 51 percent and more than cutting the stats in half. The numbers from 2013 were so low that they hadn't seen those levels since 1970.

Criminal Charges

Crime stats may be falling, but the population is also growing and people are accused every day. If you have been arrested, whether for an alleged violent crime or a property crime, remember that you have a right to fair trial. Be sure that you know your rights at the state and federal level and the legal defense options you have.