- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2003

Serious crimes reported in the United States, including murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft, rose slightly last year but remained well below the levels reported a decade ago, the FBI said yesterday.

More than 17,000 city, county and state law enforcement agencies nationwide reported 11.9 million crimes to the FBI during the year, an increase of less than 1 percent over 2001 and 16 percent fewer than a decade earlier. A total of 13.7 million people were arrested during the year.

“We’re pleased to cooperate with law enforcement agencies around the country to provide timely and relevant data that we can all use to more-effectively fight criminal and terrorist activities,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in releasing the bureau’s annual “Crime in the United States” report.

The District recorded a higher crime-index rate during 2002 than any state, with 8,022.3 reported incidents of serious crime for every 100,000 residents, followed by Arizona (6,386.3), Hawaii (6,043.7), Florida (5,420.6) and South Carolina (5,297.3).

The FBI said the crime-rate index standardizes the volume of crime by measuring it against a population base of 100,000 residents, with a nationwide average during 2002 of 4,118.8 reported incidents.

Maryland was 13th on the overall list at 4,747.4 reported incidents per 100,000 residents, with Virginia finishing at 39th with 3,140.3.

According to the FBI, the number of incidents of violent crime, including murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, decreased by 0.9 percent during 2002, with 1.4 million offenses.

The 2002 number was 7 percent lower than the number of violent crimes reported in 1998 and 25.9 percent less than 1993, the FBI said.

The number of reported incidents of burglary, larceny and auto theft increased by 0.1 percent in 2002 compared with 2001, but showed a 4.6 percent decline from 1998 and a 14.5 percent drop compared with 1993, the FBI said.

According to the report, compiled by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program:

cThe nation’s cities experienced a 1.9 percent drop in the number of incidents of violent crime, with an estimated 494.6 offenses per 100,000 residents, a decline of 2 percent from 2001.

• The weapons of choice in the reported incidents of violent crimes were hands, fists and feet at 31.2 percent of cases, firearms in 26.8 percent, knives or other cutting instruments in 14.9 percent and other types of weapons in 27.1 percent.

• Nationally, law enforcement agencies cleared 46.8 percent of reported violent crimes in 2002. Murders were cleared at a rate of 64.0 percent. Aggravated assaults had a clearance rate of 56.5 percent; forcible rapes, 44.5 percent; robberies, 25.7 percent.

According to the report, 70.7 percent of people arrested during 2002 were white and their most common offense was driving under the influence. The FBI said the offense for which blacks were arrested most often was violation of drug laws.

The FBI also said 7,462 hate-crime incidents were reported last year involving 8,832 offenses, 9,222 victims and 7,314 offenders. The bureau said 48.8 percent of the reports were motivated by racial bias, 19.1 percent by religious bias, 16.7 percent by sexual-orientation bias, 14.8 percent by ethnicity/national-origin bias, and 0.6 percent by disability bias.

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