Violent and Property Crime in the US–Crime in America

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Violent and property crime decrease for the first half of 2013-FBI

Lowest murder rate since 1960 but violent crime increases in 2012-FBI

For the second consecutive year, violent and property crime rates increase-National Crime Survey

From Crime in America.Net staff

There are two primary sources for crime data in the United States. The first is crime reported to law enforcement agencies, processed at the state level and reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Many criminologists see this data as an index of serious crimes.

The second is the National Crime Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics which is an attempt to document all measured crime in the US regardless of reported and unreported crime.

FBI-Crimes reported to police-summary:

2013-Preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation reported a decrease of 5.4 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first 6 months of 2013 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2012.

The number of property crimes in the United States from January to June of 2013 decreased 5.4 percent when compared with data for the same time period in 2012.

2012-The FBI estimated that in 2012 the number of violent crimes increased 0.7 percent. However, property crimes decreased 0.9 percent, marking the tenth straight year of declines for these offenses, collectively.

The rate for homicide remains at historic lows, 4.7 percent per 100,000.

The 2012 preliminary statistics show that the estimated rate of violent crime was 386.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,859.2 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.

National Crime Survey-summary:

In 2012, for the second consecutive year, violent and property crime rates increased for U.S. residents age 12 or older, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The overall violent crime rate (which includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault) rose from 22.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons in 2011 to 26.1 in 2012

Crimes not reported to police:

The problem is that the majority of crime (approximately half of violent crimes and 40 percent of property crimes) are not reported to law enforcement agencies.

Crimes are not reported because victims see the event as a personal matter (a fight between friends or family members) or a theft that the victim considers minor or the victim’s belief that law enforcement cannot resolve the issue (a theft where the likelihood of getting property back or resulting in the arrest of the offender is unlikely).

To deal with the crime reporting issue, the Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice under the US Department of Justice  created the National Crime Survey. The National Crime Survey collects data from households and individuals (similar to the Census Bureau) to get a picture of total crime.

The latest data involving crimes reported to law enforcement agencies includes:

For the latest data from the National Crime Survey, see:

For an overview of declining crime over the last 20 years, see:

The Bottom Line:

The bottom line of the two reports is that  violent and property crime are still at record lows for the country and, generally speaking, have been decreasing for the last two decades except for recent years.

Recent increases in the Bureau of Justice Statistics and 2012 FBI data are a cause for concern and need to be watched carefully to see if increased crime is an emerging trend. As noted, crimes reported to law enforcement declined during the first six months of 2013 so we are getting mixed data from two sources.

While historically low rates of crime is of  little consequence to those living in areas where crime continues to be a problem, it is never-the-less great news for a country that suffered large increases in crime and violence for decades since the mid 1960′s.

Please note that there are additional measures focusing on fear of crime, crimes committed against students, substance abuse and many other criminological variables. Most are cited within this site and most indicate a downward trend that matches the FBI’s report and the National Crime Survey for recent years while noting that crime increased in 2011 and 2012 per the National Crime Survey.

A multi-decade summation from the National Crime Survey:

In 2010, violent and property victimization rates fell to their lowest levels since the early 1990s. From 1993 to 2010, the violent crime victimization rate decreased 70 percent, dropping steadily from about 50 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 1993 to about 15 per 1,000 in 2010. The property crime victimization rate fell 62 percent, from about 319 victimizations per 1,000 households in 1993 to 120 per 1,000 in 2010.”

From a 21013 Department of Justice Report on Repeat Victimization:

In 2010, the 17 percent of violent crime victims who experienced repeat victimization accounted for 54 percent of all violent victimizations.

For serious violent crimes, the victimization rate decreased 77 percent from 1993 to 2010, while the prevalence rate decreased 66 percent.

The decline in total household property crime victimization rates (down 64 percent) from 1993 to 2010 was greater than the decline in prevalence rates (down 48 percent).

The proportion of household property crime victims who reported two or more incidents during each year decreased from 25 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2010. In 2010, the 18 percent of repeat household victims accounted for about 41 percent of all household property victimizations.

 

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