FBI: Crimes Up First Time in Decade


Murder, rape and every other violent criminal act except aggravated assault rose last year, the FBI said in reporting the first year-to-year increase in overall crime in a decade.

Associated Press reports that the number of murders increased for the second straight year, following several years of decline, according to the FBI, which compiles its annual survey from crimes reported by 17,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The 15,980 murders represented a 2.5-percent increase over 2000, while forcible rapes were up less than 1 percent and robberies rose almost 4 percent. Aggravated assaults fell by a half-percentage point, reaching its lowest level since 1987.

The total number of crimes rose 2.1 percent last year, the first increase from year to year since 1991, the FBI said. But overall crime still is down 10 percent compared with 1997, according to the report.

Property crimes such as burglary, larceny and arson, with no threat of violence, rose 2.3 percent, to 10.4 million cases. The total value of stolen property was pegged at $17.1 billion, with motor vehicles and jewelry accounting for the most money. About a third of stolen property was recovered.

The FBI did not include the Sept. 11 deaths at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. These deaths, the FBI said, “are different from the day-to-day crimes committed in this country.” The report listed the total number of Sept. 11 murder victims reported by law enforcement agencies as 3,047. Of those, 2,823 occurred at the World Trade Center, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 in Somerset County, Pa., the FBI reported.

The FBI report differs from a survey done earlier this year by the Justice Department, which identified a drop in all violent crimes except murder in 2001, based on interviews with victims. Murder is not included in that survey, and the FBI cautions against comparing the two reports.

There were 4,160 crimes per 100,000 people in the United States last year, up slightly from the 4,124 per 100,000 recorded last year. In addition, there were more than 2.3 million arrests for crimes tracked by the FBI in 2001, down less than 1 percent from the year before.

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