FBI Report: Major Crimes in 2002 Increased in Suburban Areas, West


The number of murders in the United States rose by 3.1
percent in 2001 as police departments nationwide reported
an overall increase in major crimes for the first time in a
decade, according to an annual FBI report. The FBI’s
Uniform Crime Reporting Program reflected that, overall,
major crimes were up by 2 percent in 2002, including
increases in robberies, burglaries and car thefts.

The latest release also shows crime reports in suburban areas overall were up 2.2 percent. Criminologists have been warning for some time that surges in the numbers of teenagers and released prisoners, along with recent economic declines, threatened a return to rising crime.

Regionally, only the Northeast showed a drop in crime. The largest increase was in the West, followed by the South and Midwest, the report said.

Most of the increase in 2001 was driven by jumps in various property crimes, led by car thefts at 6 percent, while the overall number of violent crimes rose by less than 1 percent. The report said, however, that the number of crimes rose in every category except aggravated assault. Crime experts said the rises in murders and robberies were particularly alarming because of the severe impact they have on neighborhoods and communities.

The FBI report excluded the more than 3,000 deaths from the Sept. 11 terror attacks. However, interestingly, the report said had those deaths been counted as homicides, the number of murders would have increased by 26 percent from 2000.

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