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Violent, Property Crime on the Decline: FBI Report

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 13, 2014 1:34 PM

Society may not be on the brink of destruction after all. At least not according to a recent crime report by the FBI, which shows that property crime and violent crime are generally on the decline.

According to an FBI press release, violent crimes in the United States decreased 4.4 percent between 2012 and 2013 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), while property crimes decreased 4.1 percent. Also uplifting news: Property crimes have been steadily on the decline for the last 11 years.

What was the good (and possibly bad) news delivered by this new FBI data?

Top 4 Violent Crimes in America

In 2013, the FBI collected data on an estimated 1.16 million violent crimes that occurred nationwide. And of that seemingly large sum, these crimes made up the largest percentages:

  1. Aggravated Assault (62.3 percent),
  2. Robbery (29.7 percent),
  3. Rape (6.9 percent), and
  4. Murder (1.2 percent).

Some may think that the rape figure seems low -- especially given reports at many colleges -- and the FBI has an answer. Prior to 2013, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program only collected rape data under "forcible rape," defined as "[t]he carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." This definition has since been updated to include most forms of non-consensual sexual contact against a person of any sex, but the data won't reflect that until the 2014 numbers are released.

Property Crimes Decline for Over a Decade

While there was a slight uptick in violent crime in 2012, the FBI reports that this was the "11th straight year the collective estimates" for property crimes declined. More specifically, the FBI estimated that a 10-year trend between 2004 and 2013 showed a 16.3 percent decrease in property crime. And hopefully it continues to decline.

Like with violent crimes, property crimes were measured by their percentage of the total 8.63 million estimated property crimes in 2013. Here were the top offenses:

  1. Larceny (69.6 percent),
  2. Burglary (22.3 percent), and
  3. Motor vehicle theft (8.1 percent).

It's notable that the FBI didn't specifically break out data on cyber crimes in this list (though some cyber crimes may fall into other categories, such as theft/larceny). However, a recent Gallup poll revealed that 27 percent of U.S. households have been affected by stolen credit card information.

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