Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Violent Crime in the United States Up as Homicides Spur 11% Hike in Total Murders for 2015; Decrease in Property Crime

Monday, September 26, 2016 05:31PMCities across the country suffered an uptick in violent crime last year, including a nearly 11 percent jump in murders from the year before, according to new statistics compiled by the FBI.

There were 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation last year -- a 3.9 percent increase from 2014, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. However, last year's statistics were still slightly lower than in 2011, and more than 16 percent below the 2006 level, the FBI said today.

It's important to note that big jumps in violent crime in only a handful of U.S. cities can drive the national average up. Some cities, like Chicago and Los Angeles, saw more than 24,000 violent crimes each last year, while so many other cities and towns across the country experienced single-digit or no violent crimes at all.

Overall, murders accounted for nearly 15,700 of last year's violent crimes, and nearly three-quarters of them were committed with firearms, according to the FBI report.

"The report shows that there was an overall increase in violent crime last year, making clear what each of us already knows: that we still have so much work to do," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a violent-reduction summit in Little Rock, Arkansas. "But the report also reminds us of the progress that we are making. It shows that in many communities, crime has remained stable or even decreased from the historic lows reported in 2014. And it is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades."

Lynch said the nation must not become "complacent" about violent crime.

"The residents of communities where violence remains a fact of daily life care little whether overall crime rates are up and down," she said. "And in the raft of data and analysis that can so often define our work, we must never forget that all of our numbers reflect the lives of real people."

She emphasized that "there is no single cause of violence, and solutions will vary from one community to another."

Today, the FBI released its annual compilation of crimes reported to its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program by law enforcement agencies from around the nation. Crime in the United States, 2015 reveals a 3.9 percent increase in the estimated number of violent crimes and a 2.6 percent decrease in the estimated number of property crimes last year when compared to 2014 data.
According to the report, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation. While that was an increase from 2014 figures, the 2015 violent crime total was 0.7 percent lower than the 2011 level and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level.
Among some of the other statistics contained in Crime in the United States, 2015:
  • The estimated number of murders in the nation was 15,696.
  • During the year, there were an estimated 90,185 rapes. (This figure currently reflects UCR’s legacy definition. Learn more about the revised rape definition.)
  • There were an estimated 327,374 robberies nationwide, which accounted for an estimated $390 million in losses (average dollar value of stolen property per reported robbery was $1,190).
  • Firearms were used in 71.5 percent of the nation’s murders, 40.8 percent of robberies, and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults.
  • Property crimes resulted in losses estimated at $14.3 billion. The total value of reported stolen property (i.e., currency, jewelry, motor vehicles, electronics, firearms) was $12,420,364,454.

Pie charts showing breakdown of violent crimes and property crimes from Crime in the United States, 2015 report.
In addition to national crime data, the publication also contains agency-level data, regional data, state totals, data from cities and counties grouped by populations, and statistics from certain metropolitan areas.
Crime in the United States, 2015 also features several smaller reports:
  • Federal Crime Data, the second report from UCR looking at crime reporting from federal agencies, includes 2015 data from FBI and ATF cases as well as traditional offense information from other federal agencies.
  • Human Trafficking, the third report from UCR’s Human Trafficking data collection, includes general content about human trafficking as well as data provided by agencies that reported human trafficking offenses in 2015.
  • Cargo Theft, the third report from UCR’s Cargo Theft data collection, contains general information about cargo theft and data provided by agencies that reported cargo theft violations during 2015.
Also included in Crime in the United States, 2015 is a message from Director James Comey on FBI efforts to improve the collection, analysis, and uses of crime statistics and data about law enforcement’s use of force, primarily through its ongoing shift to the more detailed National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and a use-of-force database. Both, he said, will “give us a more complete, richer picture of crime in our communities, and a national and detailed picture of the ways we in law enforcement are using force.”

According to Comey, who cited the need for more transparency and accountability in law enforcement, “Information that is accurate, reliable, complete, and timely will help all of us learn where we have problems and how to get better.”