The federal government has created more than 400 new crimes since 2008, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
In a June report to the House Over-Criminalization Task Force, the CRS identified 439 new criminal offenses to the U.S. Code between 2008 and 2013.
A 2008 analysis by the law scholar John S. Baker for the Heritage Foundation found that, between 2000 and 2007, the government added 452 crimes to the books, indicating the government has increased the rate at which it created new crimes.
The 2008 report identified “at least 4,450 federal crimes.” Adding in the CRS report tally, there are now 4,889 federal crimes on the books.
Many of the new crimes simply expanded the criminal code surrounding fraud, racketeering, child pornography, recruitment of child soldiers, and other crimes often pursued by federal prosecutors.
However, there were a few new activities liable to land one in federal prison. For example, it is now a federal crime to conduct “high seas navigation of an unflagged submersible or semi-submersible vessel.” The law was created in response to so-called “narco-subs” used by drug cartels in South America.