FBI: Crime reported to police fell last year

Two weeks ago, the victimization survey reported that violent crimes jumped 18 percent last year, the first rise in nearly 20 years, while property crimes rose for the first time in a decade. Academic experts say the survey data fall short of signaling a reversal of the long-term decline in crime.

Caulkins said that the FBI report is probably more reliable as a year-to-year measure, but that the victimization survey also is useful because it includes crimes beyond those that are officially reported.

The victimization survey found that the increase in the number of violent crimes was due largely to an upward swing in simple assaults, which rose 22 percent, from 4 million in 2010 to 5 million last year. The incidence of rape, sexual assault and robbery remained largely unchanged, as did serious violent crime involving weapons or injury.

The experts said the percentage increases in last year’s survey were so large primarily because the 2011 crime totals were compared with historically low levels of crime in 2010.

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