Statistics released today in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report reveal declines in both the violent crime and the property crime reported in the first six months of 2013 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2012. The report is based on information from 12,723 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six months of comparable data to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program for the first six months of 2012 and 2013.
- All of the offenses in the violent crime category—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery—showed decreases when data from the first six months of 2013 were compared with data from the first six months of 2012. The number of murders declined 6.9 percent, the number of forcible rapes declined 10.6 percent, aggravated assaults decreased 6.6 percent, and robbery offenses decreased 1.8 percent.
- Violent crime decreased in all city groupings in the first six months of 2013 when compared to figures for the same period in 2012. The largest decrease, 9.2 percent, was noted in cities with fewer than 10,000 in population.
- Violent crime decreased 10.5 percent in nonmetropolitan counties and 3.6 percent in metropolitan counties.
- Violent crime decreased in each of the nation’s four regions. The largest decrease, 7.4 percent, was noted in the Midwest, followed by 5.9 percent in the South, 4.3 percent in the Northeast, and 3.7 percent in the West.
- All three offenses in the property crime category—burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft—showed decreases in the number of offenses from January to June 2013 when compared with data for the same months of 2012. Burglary offenses decreased 8.1 percent. There was a 4.7 percent decrease in the number of larceny-theft offenses and a 3.2 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts.
- Each of the six city population groups had decreases in the overall number of property crimes. Law enforcement agencies in cities with populations under 10,000 inhabitants reported the largest decrease, 9.0 percent.
- Property crime decreased 12.0 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 7.4 percent in metropolitan counties.
- All four regions reported decreases in the number of property crime: 9.3 percent in the Midwest, 8.1 percent in the Northeast, and 5.5 percent in the South. Property crime declined 0.3 percent in the West.
In the UCR Program, arson offenses are collected separately from other property crimes. The number of arson offenses decreased 15.6 percent in the first six months of 2013 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2012. All four regions reported decreases in the number of arsons—25.5 percent in the Northeast, 22.9 percent in the Midwest, 10.5 percent in the West, and 10.0 percent in the South.
Arson offenses decreased 27.0 percent in cities with populations of 25,000 to 49,999, the largest decrease within the city groupings. Arson offenses decreased 20.4 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 15.8 percent in metropolitan counties.
New Definition of Rape
In 2013, the FBI UCR Program initiated the collection of data under a new definition for forcible rape within the Summary Based Reporting System. The term “forcible” was removed, and the definition changed to “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Only data compatible with the historical definition of forcible rape are published in Tables 1-3. However, all rape data—whether submitted under the historical or the new definition—are presented in Table 4; agencies that reported under the new definition are referenced with a footnote.
Caution against ranking: When the FBI publishes crime data via its UCR Program, some entities use the information to compile rankings of cities and counties. Such rankings, however, do not provide insight into the numerous variables that shape crime in a given town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. These rankings lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that can create misleading perceptions that adversely affect communities and their residents. Only through careful study and analyses into the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction can data users create valid assessments of crime. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population or student enrollment.