The FBI released its Uniform Crime Report for 2013 yesterday. Among the findings:
The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 4.4 percent in 2013 when compared with 2012 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes decreased 4.1 percent, marking the 11th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.
A total of 18,415 city, county, state, university and college, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR Program in 2013. A summary of the statistics reported by these agencies, which are included in Crime in the United States, 2013, follows:
- In 2013, there were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes. Each of the violent crimes show declines (murder and non-negligent manslaughter—4.4 percent, rape [legacy definition]—6.3 percent, robbery—2.8 percent, and aggravated assault—5.0 percent) compared with estimates from 2012.
- Nationwide, there were an estimated 8,632,512 property crimes. The estimated numbers of each of the property crimes also show declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 8.6 percent, larceny-thefts declined 2.7 percent, and motor vehicle thefts were down 3.3 percent.
- Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses calculated at an estimated $16.6 billion in 2013.
- The FBI estimated that agencies nationwide made about 11.3 million arrests, excluding traffic violations, in 2013.
- In 2013, there were 13,051 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2013, they collectively employed 626,942 sworn officers and 275,468 civilians, a rate of 3.4 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.
And they address the change in the definition of rape, which as been much discussed but finally implemented for the 2013 report:
Prior to 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program collected rape data in the Summary Reporting System under the category “forcible rape.” In 2013, the program removed the term “forcible” from the title and revised the definition. The legacy UCR definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” The revised UCR definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”It essentially broadens the definition by removing "of a female" to allow male victimization (prison rape, etc.), and gets us out of the straw man discussions regarding what's "forcible" and what's not.
Overall, the numbers speak for themselves. Crime continues to trend downward to historic lows, the likes of which we haven't seen since the 1960's.
It also raises the obvious question: why, then, are 2.2 million people still behind bars in the U.S.?