[JURIST] Violent crime in the US increased 1.3 percent last year, according to the Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2006 [text; press release, PDF], released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] Monday. Property crime decreased 2.9 percent, but the increase in violent crimes marks the second straight year that rate rose. The 2005 Annual Report on Violent Crime [text; JURIST report] found that violent crimes had increased for the first time since 2001. The trend in violent crime [JURIST report] was initially disclosed last week by FBI Assistant Director of Public Affairs John Miller [official profile], who told AP that midsized American cities had been particularly affected. The increase in violent crime was the greatest - 3.2 percent - in cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999, as well as cities with 25,000 to 49,999 people.
On Friday, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced draft legislation to combat violent crime [JURIST report] that will increase penalties and restore the binding nature of federal sentencing guidelines. The preliminary FBI report is a precursor to its "Crime in the United States, 2006" report, which will include more comprehensive statistics and is set to be released in September. Reuters has more.