Fewer Americans were the victims of property crimes in 2014, thanks mostly to a decline in thefts, a new government report shows.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported the rate of property crimes dropped to about 118 incidents per 1,000 households from 131 per 1,000 the previous year. That follows a decline from 2012 to 2013 and represents a dramatic drop from the 1993 property crime rate of nearly 352 victimizations per 1,000 households.
In the BJS report, which was released in August 2015, criminal justice researchers noted that incidents of theft decreased to about 91 per 1,000 households from 100.5 per 1,000 in 2013.
Other property crimes were also down in 2014: home burglaries declined to 23.1 per 1,000 from the previous year’s 25.7; and motor vehicle theft dipped to 4.1 per 1,000 from 5.2.
Overall, there were 15.3 million victims of property crimes in the United States in 2014, federal statistics show. Thefts accounted for most of the victimizations (11.8 million), followed by burglaries (3 million) and auto thefts (534,000).
While property crime rates were down, the violent crime rate was largely unchanged, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. Incidents of violent crimes – assault, domestic violence, robbery and sexual assault – stood at 20.1 per 1,000 U.S. residents age 12 or older.
There was no meaningful change in the rate of violence involving a firearm, which was reported at 1.7 victimizations per 1,000 residents in 2014.
About 3 million people were victims of one or more violent crimes during the year; that represents about 1% of the U.S. populace age 12 or older. Victimizations were equally divided among males and females.
Violent crime victimizations were most prevalent (1.7%) among youngsters age 12 to 17 and least prevalent (0.3%) among residents age 65 or older. The prevalence rate represents the percentage of a particular demographic group victimized at least once during a specific period.
In general, crime rates have been declining in recent decades despite the nation’s growing population. Between 1993 and 2014, the rate of violent crime fell from almost 80 victimizations per 1,000 residents to 20.1 per 1,000, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey.
Additionally, data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that the number of violent crimes reported in 2013 was the lowest since the end of the 1970s.