- The Washington Times - Monday, October 29, 2012

The number of reported incidents of violent crime last year dropped by 3.8 percent to 1.2 million, the fifth consecutive year that the total has declined, the FBI said.

Meanwhile, according to a report released Monday by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the total number of reported incidents of property crime went down by 0.5 percent to 9 million, the ninth consecutive year that figure has fallen. Property crimes resulted in estimated losses of $156.6 billion.

The FBI said the South, the most populous region in the country, accounted for 41.3 percent of all reported violent crimes, while lesser volumes of 22.9 percent were attributed in the West, 19.5 percent in the Midwest, and 16.2 percent in the Northeast.

Aggravated assaults accounted for the highest number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement at 62.4 percent. The FBI also noted that firearms were used in 67.8 percent of the nation’s murders, 41.3 percent of robberies and 21.2 percent of aggravated assaults.

In 2011, the FBI said 64.8 percent of murders, 41.2 percent of forcible rapes, 28.7 percent of robberies and 56.9 percent of aggravated assaults were “cleared” — either by an arrest or because law enforcement encountered a circumstance beyond its control that prohibited an arrest — such as the death of a suspect.

According to the FBI, 43.2 percent of the estimated property crimes occurred in the South, followed by the West with 22.8 percent, the Midwest with 21.1 percent, and the Northeast with 13 percent. Larceny-theft accounted for 68 percent of all property crimes in 2011.

Also cleared were 21.5 percent of larceny-thefts, 12.7 percent of burglaries, 11.9 percent of motor-vehicle thefts and 18.8 percent of arsons, the FBI said.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program is one of two statistical programs administered by the Justice Department that measures the magnitude, nature and impact of crime. The other is the National Crime Victimization Survey, conducted by the department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The two were designed to complement each other, the FBI said, providing valuable information about aspects of the nation’s crime problem. But the FBI warned that the two programs should not be compared because of differences in methodology and crime coverage.

The FBI said the Uniform Crime Reporting Program provides a “reliable set of criminal justice statistics” for law enforcement administration, operation and management as well as to indicate fluctuations in the level of crime, while the National Crime Victimization Survey provides previously unavailable information about victims, offenders and crime — including crimes not reported to police.

Two weeks ago, the National Crime Victimization Survey reported that violent crimes had increased last year by 18 percent, the first rise in nearly 20 years, while property crimes rose for the first time in a decade. It attributed the jump in violent crime to an increase in the number of simple assaults, which rose 22 percent, from 4 million in 2010 to 5 million last year.

At the same time, it said the incidence of rape, sexual assault and robbery remained largely unchanged, as did serious violent crime involving weapons or injury.

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