Crime Rate at 30-Year Low According to Justice Department


The U.S. Justice Department says the crime rate nationwide
is at a 30-year low, with the violent crime rate dropping
in every income category by at least 40 percent between
1993 and 2003. The numbers come from the findings of the
Justice Department’s annual National Crime Victimization
Survey, with the number of crimes holding at its lowest
rate since the survey was first conducted in 1973.

“The rates are the lowest experienced in the last 30
years,” Justice Department statistician Shannan Catalona
says in the report. “Crime rates have stabilized.” The
survey is based on interviews with people in 84,000
households and shows a steady decline from 1993 until 2002
in the rates of violent crime and property crimes before
those numbers leveled off in 2003.

The new survey put the rate for property crimes of
burglary, theft and motor-vehicle theft in 2003 at 163 for
every 1,000 people, compared with 159 the year before. The
slight increase was not considered statistically
significant and a decade ago, the rate was 319 property
crimes per 1,000 people, the study says.

The number of victims of violent crimes for 2003 was 23 per
1,000 people, down from 50 in 1993.

The FBI publishes the more comprehensive Uniform Crime
Report, which is drawn off statistics from law enforcement
agencies nationwide and is expected to be released in the
coming month. Preliminary numbers from the FBI report HREF=t_ci_newsView.cfm?nid=1653>were released in May.

The survey found that property crimes occurred most often
in the West in 2003 with 207 crimes per 1,000 households.
There was also a tendency for crime to strike people who
rent rather than own their home (206 crimes vs. 143 crimes
per 1,000) and in urban areas (216 crimes per 1,000) rather
than suburban or rural areas (145 and 137 per 1,000,

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