PhotoThere's continued progress in the war against crime in the U.S.

The estimated number of violent crimes declined for the fifth consecutive year in 2011, according to figures released by the FBI. Property crimes also fell, marking the ninth straight year that the collective estimates for these offenses were down.

The 2011 statistics show that the estimated volumes of violent and property crimes declined 3.8 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, when compared with the 2010 estimates. The violent crime rate for the year was 386.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants – down 4.5 percent from the 2010 rate; the property crime rate was 2,908.7 offenses per 100,000 persons a drop of 1.3 percent from the previous year.

These and additional data are presented in the 2011 edition of the FBI’s annual report, “Crime in the United States,” a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Local involvement

The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding the violent crimes of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

(Although the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it does not estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation by the reporting agencies. Consequently, arson is not included in the property crime estimate.) The program also collects arrest data for the offenses listed above plus 20 additional offenses that include all other crimes except traffic violations.

The breakdown

In 2011, there were 18,233 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies that participated in the UCR Program. A summary of the statistics reported by these agencies, which are included in “Crime in the United States, 2011”, follows:

  • Nationwide in 2011, there were an estimated 1,203,564 violent crimes.
  • Each of the four violent crime offense estimates decreased when compared with the 2010 estimates. Robbery had the largest decrease at 4.0 percent, followed by aggravated assault with a 3.9 percent decline, forcible rape with a 2.5 percent decline, and murder and nonnegligent manslaughter with a 0.7 percent decrease.
  • Nationwide in 2011, there were an estimated 9,063,173 property crimes.
  • There was a 3.3 percent decline in motor vehicle theft and a 0.7 percent decline in larceny-theft offenses. Estimated burglary offenses increased by 0.9 percent when compared with the 2010 estimate.
  • Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) lost an estimated $15.6 billion in 2011.
  • The FBI estimated that in 2011, agencies nationwide made about 12.4 million arrests, excluding traffic violations.
  • The 2011 arrest rate for violent crimes was 172.3 per 100,000 inhabitants; for property crime, the rate was 531.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter was 3.5; forcible rape, 6.3; robbery, 34.5; and aggravated assault was 128.0 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • By property crime offense, the arrest rate for burglary was 95.6; larceny-theft, 410.6; and motor vehicle theft, 21.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. The arrest rate for arson was 3.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 14,633 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2011, they collectively employed 698,460 sworn officers and 303,524 civilians, a rate of 3.4 employees for each 1,000 inhabitants.

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