FBI reports crime rates trending downward
The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation declined in 2009 for the third consecutive year, according to the just-released 2009 edition of the FBI’s annual report, “Crime in the United States.” Property crimes also declined in 2009, marking the seventh straight year that estimates for both offense categories dropped below the previous year’s total.
The 2009 statistics show that the estimated volumes of violent and property crimes declined 5.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, when compared with the 2008 estimates. Each of the property crime offenses also decreased in 2009 when compared with the 2008 estimates. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The largest decline was for motor vehicle thefts — a 17.1 percent decrease from the 2008 figure.
The crime rate data from the 2009 report continues a 20-year trend that has seen the incidence of major crimes cut nearly in half, according to the FBI. In its breakout by region, the FBI reported that property and violent crime rates were highest in the South and lowest in the Northeast.
The FBI publication is a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. In 2009, a total of 17,985 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR Program. The participating agencies represented 96.3 percent of the U.S. population.
Nationwide in 2009, an estimated 1,318,398 violent crimes and 9,320,971 property crimes were reported. In 2009, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. made 13.7 million arrests, excluding traffic violations.
The 14,614 law enforcement agencies that take part in the UCR program reported that they collectively employed 706,886 sworn officers and 314,570 civilians, a rate of 3.5 employees for each 1,000 inhabitants.
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