A preliminary report on crime statistics for the first half of 2017 is out now and it looks like overall, crime has dropped.
The report, released on Tuesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, indicated that several categories of crimes had seen a decrease over the previous year and several had seen a significant decrease over the years prior.
According to the report:
Preliminary figures indicate that law enforcement agencies throughout the nation showed an overall decrease of 0.8 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first 6 months of 2017 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2016. The violent crime category includes murder, rape (revised definition), robbery, and aggravated assault. The number of property crimes in the United States from January to June of 2017 dropped 2.9 percent when compared with data for the same time period in 2016. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also a property crime, but data for arson are not included in property crime totals due to fluctuations in reporting. Figures for 2017 indicate that arson decreased 3.5 percent when compared with 2016 figures for the same time period.
The report also included numbers with a revised definition of rape. Interestingly enough, that redefinition was authorized by none other than former FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2011.
Up until that time, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s 80-year-old definition of rape had been sufficient.
The definition that Mueller approved is as follows:
“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.”
“This new, more inclusive definition will provide us with a more accurate understanding of the scope and volume of these crimes,” said Attorney General Eric Holder at the time.
Proponents of the new definition state the changes will broaden the scope of the previously narrow SRS definition by capturing gender neutrality, the penetration of any bodily orifice, penetration by any object or body part, and offenses in which physical force is not involved. Now instances in which offenders sodomize victims of the same gender will be counted as rape for statistical purposes.
The results were provided in table format. First, the report was broken down by Percent Change, by Population Group.
Then it was by Percent Change, by Region.
Then the statistics were broken down by Percent Change, for Consecutive Years 2013-2017.
Murder and motor vehicle theft were the only categories that saw an increase, and in the murder category, it was up by only 1.5%.
Finally, the report was broken down into Offenses Reported to Law Enforcement by State by City 100,000 and over in population.
In a discussion of the report's release, Mollie Halpern and Deputy Assistant Director Rainer Drolshagen discussed the results in the FBI This Week podcast.
Mollie Halpern: FBI statistics show an overall decline in the number of reported violent crimes for the first half of 2017 when compared to the same time period in 2016.
The FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report reveals decreases in the number of rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.
Deputy Assistant Director Rainer Drolshagen…
Rainer Drolshagen: However, the fourth offense within the violent crime category—murder and non-negligent manslaughter—actually increased 1.5 percent when you compare data to the first six months in 2016.
Halpern: FBI crime data is often used to rank cities, but Drolshagen discourages people and organizations from doing that.
Drolshagen: There are so many factors with respect to this that you would not get a true representation of which cities are the most violent.
Halpern: The FBI compiles the data, which is voluntarily provided from the nation’s law enforcement agencies.
So far, more than 13,000 agencies have submitted data, so there is a chance that…
Drolshagen: The figures may change at the end of the year when we get more agencies reporting their violent crime data.
Halpern: The report also shows an overall decline in the number of property crimes such as burglary and larceny-thefts for the first six months of 2017. Motor vehicle thefts, however, increased 4.1 percent.
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