A downward trend in the number of violent and property crimes reported appears to be continuing in 2011, according to recently released data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The "Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report," which covers January through June 2011, shows a decrease of 6.4 percent in violent crimes when compared to the rates recorded during the same time frame last year. Property crimes were down 3.7 percent, according to the FBI.
The report is based on information from more than 12,500 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six comparable months of data to the FBI in the first six months of 2010 and 2011.
The four offenses that make up the violent crimes category all showed reductions during the first six months of the year. The number of murders declined 5.7 percent, and the number of rapes decreased 5.1 percent. Robbery declined 7.7 percent, and aggravated assault decreased 5.9 percent.
Violent crime declined in each of the nation's four regions. The largest decrease - 9.7 percent - was in the Midwest, followed by 6.6 percent in the West, 5.8 percent in the South, and 3.6 percent in the Northeast.
The FBI report breaks the data down further by classifying it into one of six population-based categories. Cities with populations of 50,000 to 99,999 inhabitants, like Turlock, recorded the largest decrease in violent crime at 7.2 percent. Cities with populations of 100,000 to 249,000 recorded a decrease of 6.6 percent.
Violent crime also declined in metropolitan counties by 7.6 percent and in nonmetropolitan counties by 6.4 percent. Overall, violent crime declined in all six city population groups and metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties, with most violent crime offenses showing decreases.
There were some upticks: murder in cities with populations between 500,000 and 999,999 were up by 1.2 percent; murder in cities with under 10,000 people rose by 2.6 percent; rape in cities of 1 million or more increased by 1percent; rape in cities of 500,000 to 999,999 saw an increase of 6.7 percent; and rape in cities of 250,000 to 499.999 rose by 0.1 percent.
The rate of violent crimes has been decreasing for the last three years. In 2010 it fell by 6.2 percent. In 2009, there was a drop of 4.4 percent and in 2008 the decrease was 3.5 percent.
All three categories of property crime-burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft-showed declines in the number of offenses from January to June 2011 when compared with data for the same months of 2010. The number of burglary offenses declined 2.2 percent, larceny-theft dropped 4 percent, and motor vehicle theft fell 5 percent.
Each region reported declines in the number of property crime: 4.4 percent in the Midwest, 4.0 percent in the West, 3.8 percent in the Northeast, and 3.0 percent in the South.
Each of the six city population groups had decreases in the number of property crimes. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations of 100,000 to 249,999 inhabitants reported the largest drop at 5.1 percent. Property crime in metropolitan counties declined 3.2 percent and 0.5 percent in nonmetropolitan counties. There was one exception among the offenses. Larceny-theft rates grew by 0.5 percent in nonmetropolitan counties.
In the Uniform Crime Reporting program, arson offenses are collected separately from other property crimes. The number of arson offenses declined 8.6 percent in the first six months of 2011 when compared with figures from the first six months of 2010. All four regions reported decreases in the number of arsons-14.5 percent in the Northeast, 8.8 percent in the Midwest, 7.8 percent in the West, and 7.0 percent in the South. The number of arsons also fell in all population groups. The largest decrease, 13.5 percent, was reported in cities with 100,000 to 249,999 inhabitants.
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