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MailTribune.com
  • Number of violent crimes actually fell in 2013

  • Seems to me that there is a dramatic increase in violent crimes nationwide. Are there any statistics to compare last year's murders, homicides, bombings, etc. with this year's incidents?
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  • Seems to me that there is a dramatic increase in violent crimes nationwide. Are there any statistics to compare last year's murders, homicides, bombings, etc. with this year's incidents?
    — Concerned citizen
    Well, Concerned (and aren't we all?), preliminary crime stats for the first half of 2013 actually show violent crimes and property crimes were down nationally from the first half of 2012.
    While the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports are the gold standard for measuring violent crime in the nation, it's worth noting the FBI's release of crime statistics lags behind by about a year.
    Even so, for violent crimes, murder was down 6.9 percent, forcible rape fell 10.6 percent, robbery dipped 1.8 percent and aggravated assault dropped 6.6 percent.
    For property crimes, burglary declined 8.1 percent, larceny/theft dropped 4.7 percent, motor vehicle theft dipped 3.2 percent and arson fell 15.6 percent.
    Violent crime and property crime fell the most in the Midwest, while the West saw the smallest decrease in both violent and property crime.
    Violent crime fell 7.4 percent in the Midwest but only 3.7 percent in the West, mainly because robberies held almost steady in the West. Property crime fell 9.3 percent in the Midwest but only 0.3 percent in the West, due in part to an uptick in motor vehicle thefts.
    The FBI has been collecting crime data for the nation since 1929. Currently, more than 18,000 city, county, state, tribal and university law enforcement agencies report data for the program.
    As for explosive incidents, which include bombings, official statistics also lag behind.
    The U.S. Bomb Data Center recorded 5,909 explosive incidents, which led to 390 injuries and 31 deaths in 2013 — the year of the Boston Marathon bombing.
    There were 5,815 recorded explosive incidents in 2012, leading to 159 injuries and 21 deaths.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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