Latest Data Shows Violent Crime Across America is Down
Violent crime in the United States was down by 5.4 percent in the first six months of 2013, according to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics published Tuesday.
The FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report compiles offenses recorded by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States to provide an overview of crime trends from the first six months of the year. According to the report, the 2013 statistics reveal decreases among all violent crime categories with the exception of rape, which has recently been redefined to include a wider range of offenses. The FBI’s definition of violent crime includes murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery.
The 2013 numbers indicate that the country has resumed its downward trend after a brief 1.9 percent increase was recorded in 2012. Violent crime in the United States has declined in the first six months of the year during the last five out of six years.
The Midwest experienced the largest change in violent crime in the beginning of 2013, with an overall drop of 7.4 percent. Of this change, the largest decrease was recorded in forcible rape, which went down by 14.3 percent under the old definition, followed by aggravated assault, which was down by 9.1 percent.
For a visualization of recent violent crime trends see our infographic.
Violent crime also decreased in each of the eight population groupings defined by the FBI, falling more than 9 percent in cities with less than 100,000 people. The number of murder in cities with 1,000,000 people or more also decreased dramatically by 18.5 percent. Among Law Street’s most dangerous cities over 200,000, half experienced violent crime declines. One of the most notable cases was St. Louis, which saw its violent crime go down by more than 20 percent in the first six months of the year. Oakland, Calif. on the other hand experienced a violent crime increase of 10 percent, which was primarily fueled by its 30.37 percent growth in robberies.
For more information on changes in specific cities see our article here.
In addition to violent crime, property crime also decreased in the first six months of last year, going down 5.4 percent as well. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The leading contributor to this decrease was burglary, which went down 8.1 percent. Although arson decreased by 15.6 percent and is considered a property crime, the FBI does not include these statistics in property crime totals.
The 2013 report also marks the first time that the FBI’s new definition of rape has been used by law enforcement to report offense totals. The updated definition removed the word “forcible” from the term and expanded the meaning to include any kind of penetration occurring without consent. The national changes indicated by the report do not yet use statistics according to the new definition because they cannot be compared with historic data; however, the new numbers are available for the individual cities that have started using the updated definition.