America just got a little safer. The number of violent crimes in the US dropped 5.5% last year compared to 2009, and the number of property crimes sank 2.8%, the FBI announced today. In fact, 2010 saw declines in all four categories of violent crime—murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. All four regions of the country saw drops: Crime was down 7.5% in the South, 5.9% in the Midwest, 5.8% in the West, and 0.4% in the Northeast. The bureau's preliminary statistics for 2010 are based on information from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies.
Nationally, murder and non-negligent manslaughter declined 4.4%, forcible rape decreased 4.2%, robbery declined 9.5%, and aggravated assault was down 3.6%. The downward trend for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was especially pronounced in the smallest cities, where it went down 25.2% for cities under 10,000 people. Murder actually rose 3% in larger cities with populations of 250,000 to half a million. (Read more FBI stories.)