FBI: Crime Continues Decade-Long Downturn

WASHINGTON

A steady decline in crime since the early 1990s continued into 2003 according to the latest figures released by the FBI. Violent crimes dropped 3 percent in 2003 while property crimes were down 0.2 percent according to the 2003 FBI Uniform Crime Report. There was also a 6.3-percent drop in arson fires between 2002 and 2003.

The report, released Oct. 25, also shows that for the third-straight year, burglaries were up. Though like 2002, that increase was only 0.1 percent. However, robberies were down for the second year in a row with a 1.8-percent drop from 2002.  Burglaries are usually defined as nonviolent thefts after a property break-in, while robberies involve theft with the intention or use of violence.

The FBI says violent crimes overall are down 25.6-percent during the past 10 years while property crimes have fallen 14 percent in that period. Violent crimes include homicides, forcible rape, robberies and assaults while property crimes are defined as burglaries, larceny and car theft.

Forcible entry accounted for 62-percent of the 2,153,464 burglaries in the U.S. in 2003. The FBI says burglary victims collectively lost $3.5 billion. Most burglaries – 66 percent – took place at residences and 62 percent of home burglaries took place during daylight hours.

The only violent crime showing an increase in 2003 was murder, which was up 1.7 percent. A majority (31 percent) of violent crimes was committed without weapons (i.e. fists, feet) while 27-percent were committed with firearms.

Incidents of arson are in a separate category of its own, and the FBI says there were 4,605 fewer arsons in 2003.

For a complete look at the FBI Uniform Crime Report, see the December 2004 issue of Security Sales & Integration and the 2005 Buyers’ Guide and Fact Book, coming in December.

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