September 14, 2009
Washington, D.C.--According to figures released today by the FBI, the estimated number of violent crimes in the Nation declined for the second year in a row. Property crimes also declined in 2008, marking the sixth straight year the collective estimates for these offenses dropped below the previous year’s total.
The statistics show that the estimated volume of violent crimes declined 1.9 percent, and the estimated volume of property crimes decreased 0.8 percent in 2008 when compared with 2007 estimates. The 2008 violent crime rate was 454.5 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants (a 2.7 percent decrease from the 2007 rate), and the property crime rate was 3,212.5 per 100,000 persons (a 1.6 percent decrease from 2007).
The data are presented in the 2008 edition of the FBI’s annual publication Crime in the United States, a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data as reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.
The UCR Program compiles offense and arrest data for violent and property crimes. Violent crimes are the offenses of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault; property crimes are the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. (Though the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it does not estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation at the agency level. Consequently, arson is not included in the property crime estimate.) The program also collects only arrest data for 21 additional offenses that include all other offenses except traffic violations.
Nearly 17,800 city, county, college and university, state, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR Program in 2008. These agencies represented 94.9 percent of the Nation’s population. A summary of the statistics included in Crime in the United States, 2008 follows:
The 2008 publication also includes data regarding staffing levels for 14,169 city, county, college and university, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies as of October 31, 2008. The agencies reported that they collectively employed 708,569 sworn officers and 315,659 civilians.
Note: Caution against Ranking—Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use the figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.