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Crime Rates Continue to Fall

crime rates decline
Full Report: Crime in the United States, 2009

New Crime Statistics
Crime Rates Continue to Fall

09/13/10

During 2009, violent crime declined for the third year in a row, with an estimated 5.3 percent drop from 2008 figures. Property crime continued to fall as well—for a seventh straight year—with an estimated decrease of 4.6 percent. That’s according to our just-released report, Crime in the United States, 2009.

These latest statistics come 80 years to the month after we took over the responsibility of compiling and publishing the nation’s crime data from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The categories back in 1930 were almost identical to what we have today—murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, larceny-theft, burglary, and auto theft. (Arson came later.)

Some crime highlights from the 2009 report :

  • Each of the violent crime categories decreased from 2008—murder (7.3 percent), robbery (8.0 percent), aggravated assault (4.2 percent), and forcible rape (2.6 percent).
  • Each of the property crime categories also dropped from 2008—motor vehicle theft (17.1 percent), larceny-theft (4.0 percent), and burglary (1.3 percent).
  • Among the 1,318,398 violent crimes were 15,241 murders; 88,097 forcible rapes; 408,217 robberies; and 806,843 aggravated assaults.
  • Among the 9,320,971 property crimes were an estimated 2,199,125 burglaries; 6,327,230 larceny-thefts; 794,616 thefts of motor vehicles; and 58,871 arsons.
  • During 2009, the South accounted for 42.5 percent of all violent crime in the nation, followed by the West (22.9 percent), the Midwest (19.6 percent), and the Northeast (15.0 percent).
  • During 2009, 43.9 percent of all property crimes in the U.S. were recorded in the South, with 22.7 percent in the West, 20.8 percent in the Midwest, and 12.6 percent in the Northeast.

Additional report highlights on criminals and victims:

  • In 2009, agencies nationwide made about 13.7 million arrests, excluding traffic violations. Of those arrests, an estimated 581,765 were for violent crimes.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all arrested persons in the nation during 2009 were male. Slightly more than 77 percent of all murder victims were also male.
  • Firearms were used in 67.1 percent of the nation’s murders, along with 42.6 percent of robberies and 20.9 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapons data is not collected for forcible rapes.)
  • Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) lost an estimated $15.2 billion during 2009.

Where do these numbers come from? From the 17,985 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies who participated in the Uniform Crime Reporting program in 2009. These agencies represent 96.3 percent of the nation’s population.

The report also contains plenty of additional details, charts, and tables on crime during 2009, including more on offenses, criminals, victims, weapons used, geographic locations, etc. To find out about the crime picture in your state.

As always, a word of warning about drawing conclusions of the data by making direct comparisons between cities—valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction.

And coming this fall—the 2009 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted and Hate Crime Statistics reports, which will be posted on this website.

Resources:
- Press release