[JURIST] The FBI [official website] on Tuesday released preliminary crime statistics [report; press release] indicating declines in reported violent crimes and property crimes in the US. The statistics are based upon data collected during the first six months of 2013 submitted by nearly 13,000 federal and state law enforcement agencies around the nation. According to the FBI, the numbers indicate that murders declined 6.9 percent, forcible rapes declined 10.6 percent, aggravated assaults decreased 6.6 percent and robbery offenses decreased 1.8 percent from 2012. In addition the data reportedly indicates that burglary offenses decreased 8.1 percent, larceny-theft offenses decreased 4.7 percent and motor vehicle thefts decreased by 3.2 percent from 2012. While authorities have reportedly attributed the reductions to more effective law enforcement [NYT report], the FBI urges those using the data to account for various factors:
Individuals using these [crime] tabulations are cautioned against drawing conclusions by making direct comparisons between cities. Comparisons lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. It is important to remember that crime is a social problem and, therefore, a concern of the entire community. The efforts of law enforcement are limited to factors within its control. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual agencies.
Reports indicate that the FBI’s data continues a 25-year decline in violent crime and property crime within the US.
In October 2012 the FBI released its annual report on violent and property crime, which found that the number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement decreased [JURIST report] for the fifth consecutive year and the number of property crimes reported decreased for the ninth consecutive year. Also in October 2012 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced [JURIST report] that both violent crime and property crime rates increased from 2010 to 2011. In June 2012 the FBI released [JURIST report] the Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report documenting that the overall rate of violent crimes has decreased throughout the nation. In December 2011 The FBI announced that violent crime in the US has dropped [JURIST report], continuing a trend lasting for the past four-and-a-half years. The 2011 figures for January through June were compiled by the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) in a preliminary semiannual report.