Violent Crime

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Definition

In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses which involve force or threat of force.

Data collection

The data presented in Crime in the United States reflect the Hierarchy Rule, which requires that only the most serious offense in a multiple-offense criminal incident be counted. The descending order of UCR violent crimes are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, followed by the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Although arson is also a property crime, the Hierarchy Rule does not apply to the offense of arson.

Overview

  • In 2009, an estimated 1,318,398 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of
    5.3 percent from the 2008 estimate.
  • When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2009 estimated violent crime total was
    5.2 percent below the 2005 level and 7.5 percent below the 2000 level.
  • There were an estimated 429.4 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009.
  • Aggravated assaults accounted for the highest number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement at 61.2 percent. Robbery comprised 31.0 percent of violent crimes, forcible rape accounted for 6.7 percent, and murder accounted for 1.2 percent of estimated violent crimes in 2009.
  • Information collected regarding type of weapon showed that firearms were used in
    67.1 percent of the Nation’s murders, 42.6 percent of robberies, and 20.9 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapons data are not collected for forcible rape.) (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 7, Robbery Table 3, and the Aggravated Assault Table.)
Violent Crime in 2009 Chart

What you won't find on this page

Clearance and arrest data for violent crime.