[JURIST] The FBI Monday issued [press release] a preliminary report [PDF] showing that the nation's murder rate dropped 3.6 percent in 2004, while violent crimes were down 1.7 percent. Property crimes also fell 1.8 percent. The murder rate had previously risen for the past three years. Large cities and small towns showed the biggest improvement; murders in cities of 1 million or more dropped 7.1 percent, and in towns under 10,000, 12.2 percent . USA Today has more.