WASHINGTON -- Violent crime dropped 6 percent in 2010, marking the fourth straight year-to-year decline, while property crime was down for the eighth straight year, falling 2.7 percent, the FBI said Monday, referring to crimes reported to authorities.
Nationwide, there were an estimated 1.2 million violent crimes in 2010 and an estimated 9 million property crimes.
The rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter fell to 4.8 per 100,000 population, less than half what it was two decades ago. The last time that rate was lower was in 1963, according to FBI crime data.
An aging population, better policing and continued high rates of imprisonment for criminals are helping to drive down crime rates, criminologists say.
Robbery fell 10 percent, rape dropped 5 percent, and murder, non-negligent manslaughter and aggravated assault fell more than 4 percent.
Each category of property crime offenses decreased in 2010. The largest decline, 7.4 percent, was for motor vehicle thefts. Burglaries decreased 2 percent and larceny-thefts declined 2.4 percent.
"The last thing we should do is get complacent and say 'mission accomplished,' and so let's transfer resources away to other areas," said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University. "You don't solve the crime problem. You only control it. Without sufficient support for policing and crime prevention, the numbers can go back up."
Attorney General Eric Holder said federal prosecutors and agents have worked with state and local law enforcement to increase community participation in protecting neighborhoods. On a related front, he said that law enforcement agencies have targeted gang leadership in communities in states from Florida to New York, and from Tennessee to North Carolina.
Since the economy turned downward in 2007, the expectation had been that crime would increase with high unemployment.
For decades, a connection between the two has been a commonly held assumption -- though it eventually came under fire. For example, the Joint Economic Committee in Congress issued a report in 1984 saying that a 14.3 percent increase in joblessness in 1973-74 led to a 1.7 percent increase in homicides.
|< Prev||Next >|