FBI's 2014 Preliminary Crime Statistics Show Drop in Violent Crime
From an FBI Press Release, January 26, 2015 – Statistics released today in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report reveal overall declines in both the number of violent crimes and the number of property crimes reported for the first six months of 2014 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2013. The report is based on information from 11,009 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six months of comparable data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program for the first six months of 2013 and 2014.
All the offenses in the violent crime category—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape (revised definition), aggravated assault, and robbery—showed decreases when data from the first six months of 2014 were compared with data from the first six months of 2013. The number of murders declined 6.0 percent, the number of rapes (revised definition) declined 10.1 percent, aggravated assaults decreased 1.6 percent, and robbery offenses decreased 10.3 percent.
Violent crime decreased in all city groupings. The largest decrease, 6.7 percent, was noted in cities with fewer than 10,000 in population.
Violent crime decreased 7.6 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 4.4 percent in metropolitan counties.
Violent crime declined in each of the nation’s four regions. The largest decrease, 7.6 percent, was noted in the Midwest, followed by 6.6 percent in the Northeast, 3.0 percent in the South, and 2.7 percent in the West.
All three offenses in the property crime category – burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft – showed decreases in the number of offenses for January to June 2014 when compared with data for the same months of 2013. Burglary offenses dropped 14.0 percent. There was a 5.7 percent decrease in the number of motor vehicle thefts, and a 5.6 percent decrease in larceny-theft offenses.
Each of the city population groups had decreases in the overall number of property crimes. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations under 10,000 inhabitants reported the largest decrease, 8.9 percent.
Property crime decreased 11.8 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 9.0 percent in metropolitan counties.
All four of the nation’s regions showed declines in the number of property crime: 12.5 percent in the Midwest, 7.6 percent in the Northeast, 5.9 percent in the South and 5.8 percent in the West.
In the UCR Program, arson offenses are collected separately from other property crimes. The number of arson offenses decreased 6.5 percent in the first six months of 2014 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2013. All four regions reported decreases in the number of arsons – 11.3 percent in the Midwest, 9.4 percent in the Northeast, 8.4 percent in the South and 0.4 percent in the West.
Arson offenses decreased 13.0 percent in cities with populations of 500,000 to 999,999, the largest decrease within the city groupings. Arson offenses declined 9.9 percent in metropolitan counties but increased 0.4 percent in non-metropolitan counties.
Revised Definition of Rape
In 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program initiated the collection of rape data under a revised definition within the Summary Based Reporting System. The term “forcible” was removed from the offense name, and the definition was changed to “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
The number of rape incidents reported using the revised definition, as well as the number of rapes submitted using the legacy definition, are both included in this report in separate columns in each table. The rape figures for those agencies that changed from reporting rape under the legacy definition in 2013 to the revised definition in 2014 are not included to calculate the trends reported in Tables 1-3, but they are reported in Table 4. Please note: Because rape data reported by all agencies for 2013 and 2014 cannot be aggregated, the percent changes from one year to the next are calculated with smaller numbers than in recent years. Offenses with fewer counts are often sensitive to minor differences when calculating trends. More information about this subject is presented in footnotes and data declarations for each table.
Caution against ranking: When the FBI publishes crime data via its UCR Program, some entities use the information to compile rankings of cities and counties. Such rankings, however, do not provide insight into the numerous variables that shape crime in a given town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. These rankings lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that can create misleading perceptions that adversely affect communities and their residents. Only through careful study and analyses into the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction can data users create valid assessments of crime. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population or student enrollment.