Crimes Were Down in '09, FBI Reports

In its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report released last week, the FBI indicated that the volume of violent crime in the nation decreased 4.4 percent and the volume of property crime declined 6.1 percent. More than 11,700 law enforcement agencies contributed to this report, which is based on information from law enforcement agencies that provided three to six common months of data to the FBI from January to June of both 2008 and 2009.

Under the Violent Crime category:

  • All four of the offenses that make up violent crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) decreased nationwide. Murder declined 10.0 percent, robbery fell 6.5 percent, forcible rape decreased 3.3 percent, and aggravated assault declined 3.2 percent.
  • A review of the data by population group showed that violent crime decreased 7.0 percent in cities with populations of 1 million or more -- the largest decrease from January to June 2009 when compared with crime data from the same months in 2008 -- but cities with populations of 10,000 to 24,999 reported an increase (1.7 percent). Violent crime declined 3.8 percent in the nation’s nonmetropolitan counties and 2.1 percent in metropolitan counties.
  • By region, violent crime in the South declined 6.1 percent, violent crime in the Midwest decreased 3.4 percent, violent crime in the West declined 3.3 percent, and violent crime in the Northeast decreased 3.2 percent. In addition, law enforcement agencies in all four regions showed declines in the number of murders, forcible rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.

Under the Property Crime category:

  • Overall in the nation, there were decreases in each type of property crime, which includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Motor vehicle theft dropped 18.7 percent, larceny-theft decreased 5.3 percent, and burglary declined 2.5 percent for the two six-month periods.
  • By population group, the nation’s largest cities (those with 1 million or more inhabitants) had the largest decrease (7.7 percent) in the number of property crimes. Property crime decreased 9.8 percent in nonmetropolitan counties and 7.4 percent in metropolitan counties.
  • Regionally, property crime dropped 8.4 percent in the Midwest, 7.0 percent in the Northeast, 6.7 percent in the West, and 4.3 percent in the South. Among the four regions, the South was the only region to show an increase for a property crime offense -- burglaries were up 0.7 percent.

The number of reported arsons, which are tracked separately from other property crimes, declined 8.2 percent nationwide during the first half of 2009 when compared with data from the first half of 2008. All of the city population groups reported decreases in the number of arsons. Cities with 250,000 to 499,999 inhabitants had the largest decrease at 12.7 percent. Arson fell 11.7 percent in metropolitan counties but rose 1.2 percent in nonmetropolitan counties. Law enforcement agencies in all four regions reported declines in the number of arsons, ranging from 9.2 percent in the Northeast to 7.5 percent in the South.

The complete report is available online at www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm.

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