FBI: Murders up nearly 11 percent but property crime down in 2015

By Allen Cone  |  Updated Sept. 26, 2016 at 8:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Violent crime increased last year, by nearly 11 percent for murders, but property crime overall decreased, the FBI reported Monday in its annual compilation of crime statistics.

The FBI's "Crime in the United States, 2015" reveals a 3.1 percent increase in the estimated number of violent crimes and a 3.4 percent decrease in the estimated number of property crimes last year when compared with 2014 data.

The FBI estimates there were 15,696 murders in the United States last year, which was a 10.8 percent increase from 2014.

Other crimes included 90,185 rapes (up 6.3 percent) and 327,374 robberies (up 4.6 percent) representing $390 million in losses. The statistics reveal firearms were used in 71.5 percent of the nation's murders, 40.8 percent of robberies and 24.2 percent of aggravated assaults.

In all, property crimes resulted in losses estimated at $14.3 billion, including $12.4 billion in currency, jewelry, motor vehicles, electronics and firearms.

Regarding violent crime, murders comprised 1.3 percent compared to aggravated assault (63.8 percent), robbery (27.3 percent) and rape (7.5 percent).

The FBI estimated that law enforcement nationwide made 10.8 million arrests excluding traffic violations in 2015.

"We still have so much work to do," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said about the report. "It is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades."

This publication is a statistical compilation of offense, arrest and police employee data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting. It also includes limited federal crime reporting, human trafficking and cargo theft data.

Of the 18,439 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies eligible to participate in the UCR Program, 16,643 submitted data in 2015.

FBI Director Jim Comey cited the need for better crime reporting.

"We need more transparency and accountability in law enforcement," he said in a statement. "We also need better, more informed conversations about crime and policing in this country. To get there, we are improving the way this nation collects, analyzes, and uses crime statistics and data about law enforcement's use of force. Information that is accurate, reliable, complete, and timely will help all of us learn where we have problems and how to get better."

Changes he noted are a shift the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which will occur by 2021 and its first use-of-force database.

"Those will give us a more complete, richer picture of crime in our communities, and a national and detailed picture of the ways we in law enforcement are using force. With indispensable support from our colleagues at the Bureau of Justice Statistics, all of us will be better able to talk in an informed way about things that matter tremendously," Comey said.

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