FBI: Murders Up 11% in 2015—but There's Context
Stats for violent crime, including rapes and robberies, still below rates from 20 years ago
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2016 12:45 PM CDT
Firearms were used in more than 70% of last year's murders.   (Pixabay)

(Newser) – The number of murders in the US rose 11% last year from 2014, while the number of violent crimes saw a modest increase of 4% after two years of decline, per an FBI press release. Rapes rose 6.3%, aggravated assaults increased 4.6%, and robberies rose by 1.4% during the same period. These stats come from the FBI's latest crime report, though NPR notes it's important to put the figures in context: These violent crimes were still way down compared to other recent years, and especially more than 20 years ago, when figures spiked. For instance, despite its 11% increase this year, the number of murders dropped 9.3% from 2006. "The number of rapes is less than in 2009, the number of robberies less than in … 2013, and assaults less than in 2010. Still quite safe," a Fordham law professor and crime expert notes on Twitter.

Not that it's all smooth sailing. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed the increase Monday, noting that violence "tears at the fabric of our common life" and that "we still have so much work to do," per the Washington Post. And FBI Director James Comey said in May it doesn't make him feel better that violent crime has risen over the past year, even if it hasn't reached historic low points. In terms of last year's murders, firearms were involved in about 72% of the cases, and seven cities or regions—Chicago, Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and DC—accounted for much of 2015's spurt. Don't be surprised if the crime report comes up in Monday night's debate between Clinton and Trump: A Harvard Law School research fellow said Friday the stats could be turned into a "political football" during their faceoff, per Reuters. (Our most violent states.)
 

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