- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

Violent crime in the United States increased last year for the first time in five years, led by murders with 16,900 victims or more than 46 a day — the most since 1998 and the largest percentage increase in reported homicides in 15 years, says the FBI.

The FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2005, released yesterday, said the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters rose by 4.8 percent, while robberies increased by 4.5 percent and aggravated assaults were up 1.9 percent.

The number of murders dropped in Washington from 198 in 2004 to 195 last year, in Baltimore from 276 to 269 and in Richmond from 93 to 84, but rose in Alexandria from 2 to 3.

Among the nation’s largest cities — those with populations greater than 1 million — Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York were among those that experienced declines in number of murders.

New York, with 8.1 million residents, ranked last among the nation’s 10 largest cities with 2,680 crimes committed per 100,000 residents. Dallas, with a population of 1.21 million, ranked as the most dangerous, with 8,496 crimes per 100,000 residents.

According to the FBI report, forcible rape was the only offense among the four violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery and assault — that decreased in volume in 2005, down 1.9 percent from 2004. The report said the overall number of violent-crime offenses rose 2.5 percent.

The report also said the number of reported property crime decreased by 1.6 percent over 2004, including incidences of burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. For 2005, it said, the number of larceny-theft offenses was down 2.5 percent, and motor-vehicle thefts showed no significant change from the previous year. But the number of reported incidents of burglary rose by 0.6 percent, the report said.

The FBI based the report on numbers collected by 12,485 law-enforcement agencies nationwide.

According to the report:

• All city population groups experienced increases in violent crime when compared with data reported for the previous year, with the exception of the nation’s largest cities with more than 1 million in population, where the number of violent crimes was down 0.4 percent.

• Cities with populations from 500,000 to 999,999 saw the greatest increase in violent crime, a rise of 8.3 percent. Cities with populations of 10,000 to 24,999 saw the smallest increase at 0.5 percent.

• In the nation’s metropolitan counties, violent crime was up 2.1 percent, and in nonmetropolitan counties, it increased by 1 percent.

According to the FBI report, the nation’s four regions all saw increases in violent crime in 2005. The Midwest experienced the steepest increase at 5.7 percent; the West climbed 1.9 percent over 2004; the South by 1.8 percent; and the Northeast by 1.4 percent. The report said all four regions had increases in murder, robbery and aggravated assault, and contrary to the other three violent-crime offenses, the number of forcible rapes declined in each region.

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