There's Good News in This Figure: 1.16M Violent Crimes

That's the lowest number since 1978
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2014 10:19 AM CST
Thirty-two of the 50 states have seen a drop in crime rates as the rate of imprisonment fell.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – There were an estimated 1.16 million incidences of murders, rapes, robberies, and other major categories of violent crime last year—the lowest number since 1978's 1.09 million, according to newly released FBI data. The agency's "Crime in the United States" report shows murder and non-negligent manslaughter down 4.4% to 14,196 (the lowest it's been since 1968), with rape down 6.3% and robbery down 2.8%, Reuters reports. The violent crime rate overall, which decreased 5.1% from 2012, has fallen every year since 1994; that 2013 rate of 367.9 per 100,000 people was about half of 1994's. And while the number of murders and violent crimes fell in Detroit, that didn't stop it from being named the most dangerous city in the country, the Detroit News reports.

Various factors have been correlated with this steady nationwide reduction in violent crime. Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox tells Reuters that an older population, better policing, and more security cameras seem to have had an effect. He also says the ubiquity of cellphones may also play a role: "It's hard for criminals to do anything without being caught on video." The number of US prisoners has also fallen in tandem with violent crime reduction, falling 6% last year compared to 2008, reports Pew Charitable Trusts, as per Reuters: Thirty-two states have experienced falling crime rates as the imprisonment rate dropped, with California claiming the largest imprisonment-rate reduction (15% over five years) and a crime-rate reduction of 11%. (Meanwhile, scientists have linked two genes to violent behavior.)

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