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FBI reports first increase in violent crime since 2001

[JURIST] The number of violent crimes increased in 2005 for the first time since 2001, according to the 2005 annual report on violent crime [text; press release] published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] Monday. The report details a 2.3 percent rise to 1.39 million cases of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and other violent crimes. The increase is the largest jump since 1991, but overall numbers still come in at 3.4 percent less than 2001 numbers, with rape cases actually dropping 1.2 percent. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty [official profile] on Monday dismissed [transcript] the concerns of local officials and law enforcement across the nation that the federal government is focusing on the war on terror at the expense of violent crime prevention, saying that "the terrorism mission has not cost us anything when it comes to our relationships but has given us an opportunity to be more closely connected." He also confirmed that increased federal spending for local law enforcement was not forthcoming and the federal government's top priority is the war on terror. McNulty did not speculate whether the increase is attributable to ordinary annual fluctuations in the crime rate or to a measurable growth in criminal activity.

The report confirms the findings of the FBI's earlier preliminary report [text] released in June [JURIST report]. Last week, however, the US Department of Justice said that the overall violent crime rate in 2005 remained the same as 2004 [JURIST report], according to the Criminal Victimization, 2005 report [text] conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics [official website]. The FBI report compiles statistics on all reported crimes while the DOJ numbers measure a sample of crimes, some of which are never reported to law enforcement. The two reports also include different crimes and definitions of crimes in their reports. AP has more.

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