Annual FBI report shows slight decrease in violent, property crimes for 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday published its annual report on crime statistics, which showed violent crime went down a fraction of a percent last year.

The report, Crime in the United States, compiles information on various crimes committed across the country from data gathered through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which local and state law enforcement agencies participate strictly on a voluntary basis.

“We hope this information will become part of a balanced dialogue in communities and in the media – a dialogue that will help to dispel misperceptions, foster accountability, and promote transparency in how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they serve,” said FBI Director James Comey.

The same day the FBI released its crime statistics, the Department of Justice announced plans to expand its crime prevention efforts to five additional cities. The federal agency added the cities to its roster, bringing the total number of sites in the Violence Reduction Network to 10 since launching the program this time last year.

The effort is a joint one, a partnership between the federal government and local law enforcement meant to combat crime, like the estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes that plagued the country in 2014. Officials are hoping those numbers drop when the 2015 data is analyzed. Violent crimes include murder and non-negligent homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults, and were down only 0.2 percent from 2013.

Of the violent crimes reported by law enforcement agencies for 2014, more than half – 63.6 percent – were aggravated assaults. Robberies were the second most reported violent crime, making up 28 percent of the total, followed by rape at 7.2 percent and murders comprising 1.2 percent of violent crimes.

However, there were over seven times more property crimes than violent crimes reported in 2014, with a whopping 8,277,829 incidents, a decrease of 4.3 percent from 2013. Property crimes included larceny and theft, which made up more than 70 percent of all property crimes; burglaries, accounting for nearly 21 percent; and motor vehicle theft, which included 8.3 percent of all property crimes for the year. Property crimes in the U.S. accounted for about $14.3 billion in losses for the year.

In 2014, law enforcement arrested more than 11.2 million people, with the overwhelming majority – over 73 percent – of those individuals being male. The most popular offense was drug violations, with more than 1.5 million arrests. Larceny and theft arrests stood at 1.2 million, while arrests for driving under the influence accounted for more than 1.1 million. Of the violent crimes committed in 2014, less than half resulted in arrests, while arrests for property crimes were even lower at a rate of about 1 in 8.

This year’s report also included previously unreported data on hate crimes and criminal computer crimes, while this is the second year to include information on human trafficking, which the FBI hopes for better reporting in the future for a more accurate analysis.

Starting next year, the Uniform Crime Reporting will also include offenses for animal cruelty. Additionally, there are plans for future reports to include more detailed information about non-fatal shootings between law enforcement and civilians.

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