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Violent Crime Falls to 35-Year Low, FBI Reports

Property crimes such as burglary and auto theft also decreased during 2013.

By University Alliance on December 18, 2014
FBI: Violent Crimes, Property Crimes Decreased

The trend of declining crime rates continued in 2013, with the number of violent crimes falling to a level not seen since the late 1970s, according to a new report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

About 1.16 million violent crimes, including murder, aggravated assault and robbery, were reported to law enforcement agencies nationwide. That’s down 4.4% over 2012, the FBI noted in its annual report, Crime in the United States, which was released in November 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of property crimes dropped 4.1% to 8.63 million in 2013. That category of offenses includes auto theft, burglary and larceny-theft.

Still, a property crime occurred every 3.7 seconds during 2013, with a violent crime committed every 27.1 seconds, the FBI noted.

The crime report includes data submitted by more than 18,000 city, county, state, university, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies as part of the bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

In a statement, FBI Director James Comey said the UCR data allows agencies and officials “to plan and allocate resources that help fight crime and enforce the law.”

In addition to a decrease in the total number of crimes, there also was a corresponding drop in the violent crime rate, which fell by 5.1% over 2012, and the property crime rate, which  declined by 4.8%.

The violent crime rate has decreased in 17 of the past 20 years, from a rate of 713.6 offenses per 100,000 residents in 1994 to 367.9 offenses per 100,000 in 2013. Rates of property crime have followed a similar pattern, increasing just once over the past two decades. The rate has fallen from 4,660.2 offenses per 100,000 in 1994 to 2,730.7 per 100,000 in 2013.

Guns Used in Most Murders, Robberies

Criminal justice experts have cited several factors for the falling crime numbers,including the nation’s aging population, improved police tactics and the increasing use of surveillance equipment.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • Murders and non-negligent homicides dropped 4.4% to 14,196
  • Robberies were down 2.8% to 345,031
  • Aggravated assaults fell 5% to 724,149 but still accounted for most of the violent crimes (62.3%) reported in 2013
  • Nearly 70% of murders and 40% of robberies involved the use of a firearm
  • Burglaries decreased by 8.6% over 2012, while larceny-theft was down 2.7%
  • Almost 700,000 vehicles were reported stolen in 2013, down 3.3% over the previous year
  • Property crimes cost victims an estimated $16.6 billion in 2013   

Law enforcement agencies made about 11.3 million arrests in 2013; more than 480,000 of those were related to violent crimes and 1.56 million to property crimes. Drug offenses accounted for about 1.5 million arrests, with an additional 1.16 million arrests related to DUI charges, the FBI reported.

Category: 2014 Headlines