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US violent crime rate drops for third straight year: FBI

The FBI on Monday released preliminary annual crime statistics for 2009, which indicated a drop in violent crime [press release] for the third year in a row. The FBI's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report [text] disclosed that violent crime in the nation decreased 5.5 percent, and property crime declined 4.9 percent, when compared with data from 2008. According to the report, all four categories of violent crime fell in 2009, including murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. There were also declines across the board for all city groups, with large metropolitan areas having the biggest decrease at 7.5 percent. Additionally, property crime has continued to decrease for the seventh year in a row. The FBI compiled the data from crime statistics from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. The numbers in the report are preliminary and will be made official later this year.

In December, the FBI released a preliminary report covering the first half of 2009 [JURIST report], indicating a 4.4 percent decrease in violent crime from January to June. Specifically, murder decreased 10 percent, robbery dropped 6.5 percent, forcible rape fell 3.3 percent, and aggravated assault decreased 3.2 percent. While violent crime rates dropped across the country as a whole, in cities of populations between 10,000 and 24,999, violent crime increased 1.7 percent. The drop follows a 1.9 percent decrease for 2008 and a 0.7 percent decrease [JURIST reports] for 2007. That came after two years of increasing rates of similar crimes, including a 2006 increase of 1.3 percent and a 2005 increase of 2.3 percent [JURIST reports].

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