Home News Stories 2009 June 2008 Preliminary Crime Stats

2008 Preliminary Crime Stats

Crime is Down
According to Our Preliminary Stats



For the second year in row, the number of violent crimes declined across the country—a total of 2.5 percent during 2008 compared to the previous year—according to our just-released Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report.

And more good news: the number of property crimes decreased nationally as well—1.6 percent—over 2007 levels. In fact, property crime has fallen every year since 2003.

Some highlights from this report:

  • All four of the violent crime offense categories declined nationwide: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter (down 4.4 percent), aggravated assault (down 3.2 percent), forcible rape (down 2.2 percent), and robbery (down 1.1 percent).
  • While violent crimes like murder, forcible rape, and robberies in cities with one million or more residents decreased, cities with less than 10,000 residents reported increases in those same categories (murder up 5.5 percent, forcible rape up 1.4 percent, robbery up 3.9 percent).
  • Nationwide, burglaries were the only property crime to show an increase (up 1.3 percent), while thefts decreased (down 0.6 percent) as did motor vehicle thefts (down a whopping 13.1 percent!).
  • Arson offenses, tracked separately from other property crimes, declined in all four regions of the country—Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. The largest decrease was in the West (down 5.9 percent).

The reason for the preliminary report? To get—as quickly as possible—some of the basic data we collected on crime in 2008 into the hands of law enforcement, community leaders, criminologists, and others in a position to begin analyzing the problems, allocating resources, and implementing prevention strategies.

Cooperative efforts. This preliminary report was based on data sent to us by our partners from 12,750 city, county, college and university, state, tribal, and federal agencies around the nation.

Two things to remember about our crime stats:

  • First, many entities—news media, tourism agencies, and other groups with an interest in crime—use figures from our crime reports to compile rankings of cities and counties. Such rankings are misleading, as there are many variables that impact the nature and the extent of crime in different geographic locations. Read more about variables.
  • The FBI doesn’t interpret the data; we leave the number-crunching and in-depth analysis to criminologists, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other experts. We do, however, work closely with our partners to develop strategies to combat and prevent violence and crime in our communities.

Check back with us in the fall for the complete 2008 Crime in the United States report.

- 2008 Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report
- National press release