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Crime is Declining



For the second year in a row, our Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report shows that violent crimes, property crimes, and arsons are declining.

Nationwide, violent crime fell 3.5 percent and property crime 2.5 percent during the first six months of the year; the full 2008 report will be available in the fall.

Each of the specific crimes measured by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson—decreased during the first half of 2008 as compared to the same time frame in 2007.

Here are some of the report’s highlights:  

  • Violent crimes in all population groups declined: murder by 4.4 percent, aggravated assault by 4.1 percent, forcible rape by 3.3 percent, and robbery by 2.2 percent.
  • On a regional basis, law enforcement in all four parts of the country reported a drop in violent crimes: 6.0 percent in the Midwest, 5.0 percent in the West, 2.9 percent in the Northeast, and 1.5 percent in the South.
  • Overall, property crimes fell in the Midwest (4.7 percent), the West (6.1 percent), and the South (0.4 percent).
  • Among population groupings, each category of property crime was down: motor vehicle thefts by 12.6 percent, larceny-theft by 1.2 percent, and burglaries by 0.8 percent.
  • Arsons dropped in all four regions of the country and among all population groups (with the exception of cities with populations of 250,000-499,999, where it actually increased 2.0 percent).

But there were some specific increases noted:

  • Murder and non-negligent manslaughter were up in mid-sized cities with populations of 50,000-99,999 (3.3 percent), along with smaller cities of populations under 10,000 (9.8 percent).
  • In the Northeast, forcible rapes were up slightly (0.6 percent), as were burglaries (2.7 percent) and larceny-theft (2.9 percent) over the same six-month period in 2007.
  • Cities with populations of one million-plus also recorded a 3.4 percent jump in forcible rapes.
  • Property crimes rose in the Northeast by 1.7 percent.
  • The South saw an increase in burglaries (0.6 percent) and larceny-thefts (0.5 percent).

Declining Crime Rates
According to the FBI’s latest Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, violent crime in the nation dropped 3.5  percent and property crime declined 2.5 percent during the first six months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.

Murder -4.4, Forcible rape -3.3, Robbery -2.2, Aggravated Assault -4.1, Burglary -0.8, Larceny-Theft -1.2, Motor Vehicle Theft -12.6 and Arson -5.6

Did you ever wonder why the UCR program collects offense statistics on only those eight particular crimes? It’s because they are serious crimes that occur most frequently and come to the attention of state and local law enforcement most often.

Special thanks to our state and local law enforcement partners from the 11,515 agencies that contributed to this report. And as we caution each year, please don’t draw conclusions of our data by making direct comparisons between cities—valid assessments are possible ONLY with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. 

Why do we compile the statistics, then? To help law enforcement, legislators, and communities better understand and fight crime.

For more information on the FBI’s specific efforts to combat violent crime, see our Major Thefts and Violent Crime webpage

- National press release
- Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report
- Full 2007 UCR report

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