According to statistics from our Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January-June 2012, the number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement for the first six months of 2012 increased 1.9 percent over figures from the same period in 2011. Property crimes also rose 1.5 percent overall.
Violent Crime. Two of the four offenses in the violent crime category actually showed overall decreases when compared with data from the first six months of 2011—murders dropped 1.7 percent and forcible rapes fell 1.4 percent. But the number of robberies increased 2.0 percent and aggravated assaults 2.3 percent.
At a regional level, the West saw the largest overall jump in violent crime—up 3.1 percent—followed by a rise of 2.5 percent in the Midwest and 1.1 percent each in the South and the Northeast. Despite these increases, the number of murders fell 4.8 percent in the South and 2.4 percent in the Northeast.
The only violent crime offense category that showed increases in all four regions of the country was aggravated assault, which was up 4.4 percent in the Midwest, 2.4 percent in the West, 1.7 percent in the South, and 0.8 percent in the Northeast.
Property crime. On the property crime front, all three offense categories showed overall increases—1.9 percent for larceny-theft, 1.7 percent for motor vehicle theft, and 0.1 percent for burglary.
Regionally, the West saw the largest rise in property crime—up 4.7 percent, followed closely by the Northeast at 4.0 percent. The Midwest was up 1.3 percent, but the South actually showed a decrease of 1.4 percent.
For individual property crime offense categories, statistics indicate that the West had the largest increase in the number of burglaries (up 6.7 percent) and motor vehicle thefts (up 8.1 percent). And the Northeast had the largest rise in the number of larceny-thefts, which were up 4.5 percent.
The statistics for arson, collected separately from other property crimes because of varying degrees of reporting among law enforcement agencies, showed an overall jump of 3.2 percent during the first six months of 2012. Three of the four regions of the country reported increases—up 11.0 percent in the Midwest, 6.4 percent in the West, and 5.7 percent in the Northeast. The South saw a 5.6 decrease in arson offenses.
New offense categories. On the heels of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month this January, our Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program will begin collecting human trafficking data this year in two categories—commercial sex acts and involuntary servitude. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 requires the data collection, and with input from our law enforcement partners, the UCR Program began developing specific definitions and data collection guidelines for these offenses. Stay tuned for more details on implementation.
Preliminary crime stats for the full year—contained in UCR’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, January-December 2012—should be available in six months, and final figures are scheduled to be released by the end of the year.