WASHINGTON – Murders in the United States dropped by nearly 6 percent in the first half of the year after rising for four straight years, the FBI reported Monday. Almost all other crimes declined, too.
Overall, violent crime was down 2 percent in the first six months of the year compared with the same period of 2003, according to preliminary figures provided to the FBI by more than 10,700 state and local police agencies. Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Property crimes – burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft – also declined about 2 percent, and arsons fell by nearly 7 percent.
The only crime that increased was rape, which was up 1.4 percent nationwide and 6.5 percent in cities with populations of 1 million or more.
The latest FBI report does not include raw totals for categories of crimes, only percentages of increase or decrease compared with the first half of 2003. The final report for all of 2004 will be released next fall.
Based on last year’s figures, though, it can be estimated that there were about 400-500 fewer murders in the first half of the year.
The drop was seen in each region of the country, with the South seeing the biggest decline, 8.3 percent. It was even more pronounced in cities with more than 1 million residents – 8.7 percent.
Crime in the West
The percentage of change in the West in various crimes for the first six months of 2004 compared with the same period a year earlier:
Murder: Decrease of 0.9 percent
Rape: Increase of 0.3 percent
Robbery: Decrease of 4.1 percent
Aggravated assault: Decrease of 1 percent
Burglary: Increase of 0.3 percent
Larceny-theft: Decrease of 0.4 percent
Motor vehicle theft: Increase of 2.5 percent
Arson: Decrease of 6.6 percent