- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Violent crime in the United States declined by 2 percent during the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2003, while property crime dropped 1.9 percent, according to the FBI’s preliminary semiannual Uniform Crime Report.

The FBI, in the report released yesterday, said that among the four major violent crimes reported by law-enforcement agencies nationwide — including murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault — only incidents of rape showed an increase, 1.4 percent, over 2003.

Reported incidents of murder decreased by 5.7 percent, robbery declined by 5 percent and aggravated assault decreased by 0.9 percent, the FBI said.

Overall in the nation, the FBI said that among reported incidents of property crime, burglaries declined by 2.2 percent, larceny-theft offenses decreased by 1.9 percent and motor vehicle thefts decreased by 1.6 percent.

The rates are based on reported incidents of violent and property crimes from 10,782 law-enforcement agencies across the country.

The FBI said an examination of the reported incidents by population group showed that collectively the nation’s largest cities — those with a population of 1 million or more — had the largest decline in overall violent crime, 4.8 percent, even though they showed a 6.5 percent increase in forcible rape.

Violent crime in the nation’s metropolitan counties also decreased by 1.7 percent, the report said, while in the nonmetropolitan counties, it decreased 1.8 percent.

According to the FBI, law-enforcement agencies in the Midwest reported a 2.8 percent decline in the number of violent offenses; the South reported a 2.4 percent decrease in the volume of violent crimes; the West reported a 1.8-percent decline; and the Northeast recorded a 1 percent decrease.

In addition, law enforcement in all four regions of the country showed declines in the number of homicides when comparing January-June 2003 data with 2004. However, the bureau said, all four regions showed increases in the volume of forcible rapes.

By population group, the FBI said, cities with populations ranging from 250,000 to 499,999 had the largest decrease in property crime, 4.8 percent, while cities with populations of 50,000 to 99,999 registered the smallest decline, 0.6 percent.

Metropolitan counties had a decrease of 1.5 percent, and property crime in nonmetropolitan counties declined 4.5 percent.

By region, the FBI said, a comparison of data from this year to 2003 showed that agencies in the West experienced a slight increase, 0.2 percent, in the number of reported property crimes. Law-enforcement agencies in the other regions showed a decrease in reported property crimes: in the Midwest, property crime declined 5.6 percent; in the South, it fell 1.6 percent; and in the Northeast, it decreased 1.4 percent.

Among the four regions, the West was the only region to show an increase in the volume of motor vehicle thefts, 2.5 percent. In volume, motor vehicle thefts in the Northeast decreased 8.6 percent; in the South, they declined 3.6 percent; and in the Midwest, they decreased 1.6 percent.

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