FBI Report Finds US Crime Rates Down for 2009

Preliminary 2009 statistics indicate that violent crime in the nation decreased 5.5 percent and property crime declined 4.9 percent when compared with data from 2008, according to the FBI's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report. Data in the report came from 13,237 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 months of data in both 2008 and 2009.


All four violent crime offenses including murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault declined nationwide in 2009 when compared with 2008 data. Robbery dropped 8.1 percent, murder decreased 7.2 percent, aggravated assault declined 4.2 percent, and forcible rape decreased 3.1 percent.


Violent crime fell in all city groupings. The largest decrease, 7.5 percent, was in cities with populations ranging from 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants. Violent crime declined 4.0 percent in the nation's metropolitan counties and 3.0 percent in nonmetropolitan counties.


Cities with 25,000 to 49,999 inhabitants were the only city population group to report an increase in the number of murders, 5.3 percent. The number of murders in the nation's nonmetropolitan counties also rose, 1.8 percent.


Forcible rape trends dropped in all city population groups. The largest decrease was 7.3 percent in cities of less than 10,000 residents. Metropolitan counties reported a 3.7-percent decline in the number of rapes, but the number of rapes reported in nonmetropolitan counties rose slightly, 0.3 percent.


All population groups reported decreases in the volume of robbery in 2009. Of the city groups, cities with populations of 100,000 to 249,999 had the largest decrease at 10.3 percent. Metropolitan counties reported a 6.7 percent drop in robberies; nonmetropolitan counties reported a 0.7 percent decline.


The number of aggravated assaults declined in all population groups, with cities of 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants reporting a 6.3-percent decrease. Aggravated assaults declined 3.7 percent in nonmetropolitan counties and 3.0 percent in metropolitan counties.


All four regions in the nation showed decreases in violent crime in 2009 when compared with data from 2008. Violent crime decreased 6.6 percent in the South, 5.6 percent in the West, 4.6 percent in the Midwest, and 3.5 percent in the Northeast.


All property crime offenses burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft decreased in 2009 when compared with 2008 data. Motor vehicle theft showed the largest drop in volume at 17.2 percent, larceny-thefts declined 4.2 percent, and burglaries decreased 1.7 percent.


The nation's largest cities, one million or more inhabitants, reported the greatest decrease, 7.9 percent, in property crime overall. Of the city groupings, this population group also reported the biggest decreases in the offenses that comprise property crime: a 21.1 percent drop in motor vehicle theft, a 5.7 percent decline in burglary, and a 5.5 percent decrease in larceny-theft. In the nation's nonmetropolitan counties, larceny-thefts fell 9.5 percent; in metropolitan counties, larceny-thefts declined 5.9 percent.


The only population group to indicate a rise in any type of property crime was in nonmetropolitan counties, where burglary rose 0.5 percent.


In comparing 2008 data and 2009 data by region, law enforcement agencies in the West reported the biggest decline in property crime, with a decrease of 6.8 percent. Property crime declined 5.6 percent in the Midwest, 5.3 percent in the Northeast, and 3.2 percent in the South.


Arson offenses, which are tracked separately from other property crimes, declined 10.4 percent nationwide. All population groups reported decreases in the volume of arson offenses. In addition, arson fell in all four of the nations regions: 11.6 percent in the West, 10.6 percent in the South, 9.2 percent in the Midwest, and 8.6 percent in the Northeast.

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